Posted: 2012-09-10

Yes we are back to this familiar topic of why design companies are asked to do free work.

Recently a study demonstrated that 60% of all pitches never happen – with anyone – the job is just an idea – a maybe – a lets get some ideas and we may do something – one day – this is a scary stat.

We all know the DBA (Design Business Association), BDI (British Design Innovation), CSD (Chartered Society of Designers)  have for a long time led the path in training on how to say to know. We have attended many seminars on how to discuss with potential clients why free pitches are wrong.

We have to say that we are very rarely asked to do free pitches anymore as either we speak with companies who employ experienced business people with integrity and the confidence in their own abilities to make a decision based on a structured selection procces (without creative) or we are just plain lucky.

Free pitches do not work for anyone and do not work for the project being pitched for. How can a designer understand a clients needs and most importantly their customers need from a 60 minute meeting and a short brief – at best a client will get some pretty visuals and have to select from a range of designs produced by a team with a limited understanding.

Also, what sort of agency has time to free work – either not a very busy agency or one that does not place all its efforts into actual clients and focuses on potential clients – who’s paying the agency bills! Surely existing clients should have their agencies full focus.

For those who think free pitching is ok try going to lawyer, architect, business consultant or even your hairdresser and ask them to work for free.

More importantly healthy relationships are built on respect it is impossible to build long term relationships when one party is trying to have the upper hand and does not value the other parties services.

So this is why the subject who is back on the design agenda – let us know your thoughts.

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