Free packaging design pitch work is never free. We all know there is no free lunch! Someone ultimately picks up the tab. Even though the tab may be initially unseen, in the long run clients pay for free pitches with designs that deliver sub standard results on the retail shelf. There’s a better way for agencies and clients to find the perfect match without giving away their IP and expertise for free.

Requests for free pitch work is never free. 

Oh procurement professional, do you do, what you do for free? I doubt it! So why is it expected that we as packaging designers or graphic designers invest our time, knowhow and effort in the hopes that maybe, we might, possibly get work from you?”

As packaging design professionals we need to challenge the unreasonable requests put upon us in the name of us “potentially winning work.” – Why should professional designers miss out because clients invite free design pitches by dangling the carrot of possibility winning work?

Try before you buy.

Below is a wonderful YouTube video which clearly demonstrates just how ridiculous the idea of free spec work is.

Produced by Toronto agency Zulu Alpha Kilo, they video a fellow approaching people in other businesses verticals requesting  free spec work.

The main character pitches the idea of him to sampling their products and services for free before actually committing to paying. He approaches a barista, a chef, a personal trainer, and an architect. all of whom respond with indignation at the ludicrousness of his suggestion; watch their reactions in the 2.5-minute video above.

The idea of free spec work is ridiculous!

Demonstrating just how ridiculous the idea of free spec work is, Toronto agency Zulu Alpha Kilo had a guy approach people in other businesses with requests for free spec work to sample their products and services before actually committing to paying. A barista, chef, personal trainer, and architect all responded with indignation; watch their reactions in the 2.5-minute video above.

When it comes to information and music, yes, there is no question the free line has moved. This does not mean that professional packaging designers or graphic designers need to follow suit. However, unfortunately we have trained client organisations to demand free….and get it.

Try before you buy is an age-old marketing tactic. It gets people to experience what you have to offer for free – before committing. The problem is when deciding what to give away, human nature suggests that we tend to give away our least valuable ideas – concepts, features, etc. We want to protect our most valuable ideas behind a paywall.

Ensuring you get the best work from potential designers.

It is interesting to note that the word “tip” actually originates from the acronym, To Insure Promptness. This tells us that, in fact, one should never leave quality service to chance. When you TIP in advance, (assuming it’s a respectable tip), you ensure that you get good service. The same principle can be applied to getting potential designers to pitch for work. When designers have to pitch for free they will more than likely protect their most valuable ideas behind their own pay-wall.

If you want the best designs you need to pay for them.

Clients rely on competition between vendors to get the best designs, whereas if they paid for the work, they would not only tap into the competitive nature of a pitch, but they will also tap into the esteem and the strategic thinking of the paid designer and get the best work.

Having studied and perfected their craft over many years, why should professional designers miss out when clients demand free pitches for the possible promise of work?

It’s time we all said no to spec,” Zulu says.  Mike Monteiro: Says ...F*u You, Pay Me