Since June I have been working as a contract designer and freelance designer. While the work I am producing is some of the most fulfilling I’ve done in years, there is this one annoying thing that keeps dogging me. Actually, it’s been dogging me my entire career, and I hate it. “Spec Work”. Working on spec is pure bullshit, and it seems as though the design, and advertising industry is one of the only spaces where you are basically asked to work for free to prove yourself. I quit doing spec along time ago. If a potential client asks for it, I tell them they need to go elsewhere. I’ve been called arrogant, a prima donna, stubborn, naive, ignorant, and host of other names because I refuse to do spec.
The video below from Zulu Alpha Kilo nails the absurdity of spec work. If you are in the creative field and you are being asked to do spec, I say tell them no. If we all say, no, then maybe this will stop. By the way, my favorite is the restaurant owner. He’s like the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld.