RGD advocates against spec RFPs
RGD was recently consulted by Members in two situations where major Canadian organizations requested original creative as part of an RFP process for the design of their annual reports.


One of our RGD Members contacted us about an international charitable organization based in Canada that had issued an RFP that required original design – in other words spec work. Within the same week another RGD Member cc'd us on an email to the Manager of Corporate Communications at a major Canadian retailer that had similarly requested original designs in an RFP.


In the case of the Canadian retailer, the RFP was for the design of an annual for a charity funded by the retailer. Our Member sent along RGD's Spec Policy document and explained that RGD "has encouraged many clients to eliminate this practice and provides guidelines for selecting graphic design services."


The result was an almost immediate revision of the RFP that removed the request for "2-3 design options" in favour of case studies that demonstrate expertise.

The other organization with an offending RFP this week was, unfortunately, not so amenable to RGD. RGD has contacted this organization in the past to about spec components in its RFPs, observing that an organization that holds ethics and fair play at its core should not ask many designers to create work without compensation.


Although the organization responds and pays lip service to the idea of treating designers fairly and impartially, it continues to require original creative (albeit less so) in its most recently issued RFP. RGD has documented the situation in detail in the Members-only section of the RGD website for those interested in learning more.

RGD’s Ethics Committee is regularly involved in specific advocacy efforts to remove spec work from RFPs as well as developing general initiatives to help raise awarenss of the issues of doing free work like our Free, Fee or Flee website.


If you come across a request for spec work, please help us spread the word by writing to the offending organization and sending along RGD's Spec Policy document and let RGD’s Executive Director, Hilary Ashworth, know about the situation via email at . And get in touch at any time if you'd like to help by joining the Committee, sharing your own no spec letters or articles and offering ideas on how RGD and our industry can combat this exploitative practice.