RGD Guidelines for Real Projects for Real Clients in an academic setting


Client-based projects are an exciting part of design school. To ensure that these projects are beneficial for everyone involved, it's important to establish clear and fair guidelines from the start.


To aid in this process, the RGD's Ethics Committee has created a set of Guidelines for participation in and the creation of design projects for real clients in academic settings. These Guidelines are tailored towards students, educators and clients.


Click here to download the Guidelines for Real Projects for Real Clients in an Academic Setting.


Document design and copy: Wendy Gray RGD


RGD, particularly through its Ethics Committee, advocates against contests and the many other situations where designers are asked to provide commercial work on spec. But we realized that there is a need to educate new designers, who are the most vulnerable amongst us, on what spec work is and how to avoid it. Inspired by Jessica Hische's comedic "Should I Work For Free" Flowchart, the Ethics Committee begain work on its own flow chart (based on RGD's Rules of Professional Conduct) of questions designers should ask themselves before deciding if it's appropriate to work for free.


Click here to decide whether to work for FREE, charge a FEE or save yourself some pain and FLEE

"Students are busy preparing for a future career in a world where they will be paid for the work that they do. We want to help them understand when it's totally okay to work for free and when they should expect to be paid," explained Julian Brown RGD, RGD's VP of Ethics and Chair of our Ethics Committee. "And even more importantly, we want to help them respond professionally and constructively no matter what the situation."


RGD asked Nascent Digital to contribute their interactive talents to the initiative. "When RGD approached us about their new "Free, Fee or Flee" initiative, we knew right away it aligned with what Nascent believed in. Education, collaboration and doing the right thing are values that are important to us, and this website provides a tool for new designers to feel supported and be informed. We didn't hesitate to work with RGD on this great initiative!"

- Linda Nakanishi, Design Director at Nascent Digital


We encourage all designers to check out this new tool and share it with fellow designers. And if you have comments or questions about this and other ethical issues, email 

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