Spec Work

RGD's policy on spec work

The Rules of Professional Conduct bylaw and policy of RGD prohibits its members from engaging in spec work.

What is spec work and why is it a harmful practice?
Doing work on spec amounts to providing design work for free (or for a nominal fee) as part of a pitch for new business. Some private and public sector clients mistakenly believe that requiring spec work as part of their search and selection process for a graphic designer or design firm is a good business practice. In fact, a request for spec work:

  • is exploitative and unethical, a demand for free design work without guarantee of compensation,
  • offers no future economic potential,
  • can lead to copyright infringement,
  • devalues the profession of graphic design and leads to negative competitive practices,
  • is discouraged by allied professions such as the advertising industry, and
  • is unlikely to meet a client's marketing and communication objectives.

Spec work threatens the integrity and work ethic of the graphic design profession. Neither the designer nor the client benefit from spec work. Designers who work on spec cannot do justice to the design brief. They are unlikely to conduct the research and analysis needed to produce their best work, since they have no guarantee of remuneration. Further, their expertise as professionals and their roles as consultants, partners or members of a strategic communications team are not utilized.

If you have been asked to participate in a spec work competition or know of one, please contact us by email at .