AIGA Publicly Complains About NEA’s Spec-Based Logo Competition

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On Tuesday, we told you about the National Endowment of the Arts kicking off a logo design competition. While the prize is big, $25,000 for the winner, the noxious air of spec designation couldn’t escape it. As such, the AIGA‘s executive director, Richard Grefe, has responded to the contest’s launch by issuing a letter calling out the NEA for requesting spec-based work, which is particularly negative, being that they are a government agency whose job it is to foster growth in artistic and creative endeavors, not exploit, as some would say is what spec contests do. It’s a fantastic read, Grefe’s letter, and really hits hard where hard hitting is needed, summarizing the entire anti-spec stance in just a few paragraphs, with several particularly cutting examples that certainly might do the trick in swaying the NEA to alter the contest. Or they might just ignore the complaint(s) all together. Who knows. Will be interesting to see what happens. Here’s one of many great sections:

…capable and professional designers do not work for free. While there will always be some designers who are willing to create designs in response to an open call for work, without any assurance of compensation, the buyer immediately relegates his or her choices among those designers who least likely to be experienced, knowledgeable designers who are in demand among clients and who work according to the professional standards of the profession. Only too often, it results in a client eventually having to bring a more experienced designer onto a project in order to execute it.