RGDs participate in panel examining alternatives to spec-work contests to help bring value to design students
In a panel discussion hosted by the School of Design at George Brown College, RGD's Vice Presidents for Communications and Ethics Members joined students, educators and business leaders to discuss the value of incorporating real-world design projects into curriculum and the issues surrounding spec contests for students. 


Bob Hambly RGD, VP Communications and Julian Brown RGD, VP Ethics, as well as GBC Faculty Members Nicole Dimson RGD and Vince Mancuso, joined Founding Partner of Umbra, Paul Rowan, and Founding Partner of Bespoke Cultural Collective, Kristina Ljubanovic, in Toronto on March 19, 2015 to explore the topic.


Panelists shed light on common concerns and scenarios for industry involvement in graphic design education and considerations for evaluating design competitions and industry projects. Questions included:

  • What constitutes fair compensation for work done as a student? What constitutes spec work in this context? 
  • Does exposure provide 'value' for students in the job market or is it exploitative to ask young designers to do this work? 
  • Who owns IP and rights to use work when students submit projects for industry consideration?
  • How do we determine if an industry project is "educational enough" to include in the curriculum? Who decides if students participate in these projects?
  • Are companies looking for free design work or meaningful community relationships? Does it make a difference if the partner is non-profit?
  • Can we create projects that benefit students and external partners equally?

The panel discussions were recorded and will be posted to the School's e-mag in the fall.