AIGA Metro-North’s reSPECt is a civilized dialog between advocates and opponents of speculative branding and design work.

Is speculative (spec) work productive and fair? Can it enable clients to achieve goals that are not possible with traditional work-for hire practices? Does it advance the fortunes of some at the expense of others? What are the rewards and perils of speculative work?

Once a rare practice, spec, or “try before you buy”, work is being requested a growing number of businesses-startups to global organizations. Many believe that the call for unpaid work is being fueled by changing mores, new forms of crowd-sourcing, and economic stress–but whatever the cause, spec work has the potential to upend the economic model of the industry.

Moderated by New York State Supreme Court Justice Colleen D. Duffy, our diverse panel explored if, why, and how spec work has a rightful place in the way projects are structured. The evening’s goal was to outline a way forward that meets the functional, economic, and ethical needs of clients and practitioners.

The panel included:

• Ric Grefé, Executive Director, AIGA
• Brendán Murphy, Senior Partner, Lippincott
• Jerry Kathman, President & CEO, LPK
• John Gleason, Founder & President, A Better View

Held June 24th, 2010 at the The Ossining Public Library’s Camille Budarz Theater.

reSPECt (an AIGA Metro-North Event) from Scott Lerman on Vimeo.

5 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Thanks for posting. Forwarded to friends. WIll watch over lunch one o these days.

  2. Notice how its a whole bunch of old people?

    The only people spec hurts are people who can’t keep up or are out of talent.


    The whole nospec movement is bullshit. Tools and trends are worth nothing but raw talent is priceless.

  3. We’re seeing this a lot in the architectural field as well – it used to be more disguised as unpaid ‘competitions’, but now it’s more manifest as outright desires to see a ‘design’ before wanting to even sign a contract.

    Personally, it’s a tremendous waste of time on our end – we’re simply not going to put out less than our best effort, which takes not only time, but an active dialog with our clients. Otherwise, sure, we can toss out some eye candy, but it’ll only ever be that.

  4. Spec work, crowd-sourcing, and barter are to be avoided for those serious about having financially secure careers wether it be in the creative fields or not. Period.

    And if you think money doesn’t matter, and all you need is your creative passion to see you through, just ask your landlord if he or she will accept spec work for next month’s rent.

  5. I wrote a piece with Mr. Grefe’s input on Spec work – among others – that was published on Forbes’ web site earlier this week. I’d invite the Miss and others of you interested in this to read it and tell me what you think.