It’s no secret that companies exploit artists and designers, often trying to get them to work for free in the form of “contests” or crowdsourcing. As a designer, I think it’s appalling that we’re asked to work for free. You wouldn’t walk into a restaurant, ask them to cook you a meal, and tell them you aren’t going to pay them, but you’ll give them great exposure. The chef would most likely hurl plates at your head.
There have been a few campaigns over the years, particularly by designers, to bring awareness to working for free, which is also called spec work. Famously, there’s the No!Spec campaign (led by a worldwide coalition of design professional organizations, including AIGA here in the US), which designers can use to educate companies about asking designers to do work on spec, working only with the promise of maybe winning a prize, or worse, working only for exposure. Well, I can tell you definitively that exposure doesn’t pay the rent or put food on the table.
British design magazine Digital Arts, however, is taking a different tactic. They’re calling out companies in the UK who exploit designers and artists, and they’re not being shy about naming names.