Well this subject is indeed controversial in the design world.
For those who think free pitches are essential to choosing a design and marketing company they should ask themselves the question “who is paying for this work?” common sense tells you that the design companies existing clients are and if you become one you will be funding this activity also.
On the other hand for some potential clients it is very hard to visualise something and quite often although they wish to be perceived as creative the ability to turn words into visual reality in their minds is hard.
Design Business Association president Nick Ramshaw condemns free working as damaging to the industry as a whole.
In theory if you meet with the right design company for you they should be able to provide you with enough confidence from portfolio examples and more importantly from asking you the right questions about your business for you make a decision. You must trust the people who you meet it is as important as the design work they produce. Look for a level of straight forward communication not bling. Make them demonstrate their creativity with fast thinking.
Choosing the right company to work with should not be rushed. They should work with you at every stage of the process and discuss your ideas and concerns and demonstrate how they have helped other companies in problem solving, conveying the messages and targeting the correct target markets. If you still feel the need to go to a creative pitch you should evaluate why you can not make a decision based on the information you have.
Another way of receiving creative ideas is to enter into a fee based pitch. Quite often companies will charge a minimal fee for creative work to be produced at pitch stage and then deduct this amount of the final invoice is an order is placed.
From a design companies perspective free pitches should only be considered if there is a true commitment from the potential client that the project will definitely be going ahead. Frightening figures show that out of 100 free pitches only 40 are actually ever done with any company! So before you choose to free pitch remember someone is paying for it, so if you are not serious about doing the project don’t do the pitch!
We would love to hear what you think about this issue so please send lots of feedback.