Designer's trending email sparks discussion and echoes RGD's advocacy efforts against spec competitions

BuzzFeed recently shared Designer Dan Cassaro's response to an invitation by Showtime to enter its Sports Mayhem Art Contest in a post titled: A Lot Of People Are Feeling This Angry Email From A Designer Who Claims He Was Asked To “Work For Free”

Photo via AdWeek


“The whole thing is just unethical. You would never cold call a bunch of licensed electricians and ask them to do the lighting for an event like this for free. You certainly wouldn’t ask them to hashtag their ‘submission’ on Twitter to drive traffic to your website.”


“To call it a contest is a bit insulting. A contest is guessing how many jellybeans are in the jar so you can win all the jellybeans. … To participate in a contest like this as a working professional devalues the work of everyone.” - Dan Cassaro


View the email on BuzzFeed here


After posting his response on Twitter, Dan's email and the important message behind it have also been covered by AdweekHappy Place Blog and has sparked a popular thread on Reddit with comments from designers and other creative professionals who continue to see their professional expertise de-valued by requests for speculative work.  


RGD Resources: No Spec

The RGD Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit members from taking part in, participating in or conducting open competitions that ask for original design work done for free. RGD provides a policy statement detailing the harmful effects of demands for spec work and providing advice on the professional methods for hiring a graphic designer.


The RGD Ethics Committee and Spec Lobby Committee contact Canadian companies, governments and non-profits who issue RFPs with spec components, host crowdsourcing competitions or otherwise undermine the value of the work of graphic design professionals. All graphic designers are encouraged to contact RGD when asked to engage in spec work, and/or submit RGD's policy against spec directly to the client in question.

For information on some of RGD's anti-spec successes and other advocacy efforts, click here. RGD's Policy Statement and links to other organizations with valuable resources related to spec, can be found here.

To inform us of a case of spec work or for further information please contact:

Hilary Ashworth, Executive Director
Phone: 1.888.274.3668 x 23