Say no to spec work… even in France.

I recently got a request to design a logo for someone in Paris, France. They found my site while looking for logo designers in Paris.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris France where I imagine this prospect was standing when they were sending me this spec work request.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris France where I imagine this prospect was standing when they were sending me this spec work request.

How did they find me?

Guess who’s number one in Google for the keyphrase “Paris logo design“. That’s right. As of 3/26/2010, ranks number one for that search phrase.

I’m surprised there aren’t any search engine savvy logo designers in Paris to knock me down from number one. Oh well.

Asking for unpaid work

After this potential client realized that my name is Paris and that I’m not… a city in France; they decided to contact me anyway because they liked my work.

And then it happened.

They asked me to “bid” on the project by designing several concepts for them. Then only IF one my ideas was selected from a pool of logo designs sent in by other designers would I get paid.

How to respond to requests for spec design work

Here’s what I said in response :

Hello ********,

I’m sorry, but I believe there has been a misunderstanding. I only work on a contract basis. That means my clients hire me based on my previous body of work and reputation. They sign a contract that we both agree upon before any work is done. Half of the total is paid up front. The other half is due upon completion of the project. As you can see from my portfolio I’ve worked plenty of clients who are pleased with this process. Its actually a very standard way to do business in the design industry.

I’m aware of some designers who are willing to do work before any agreement or payment has been exchanged. I’m not one of those designers. If you like my work, and would like me to provide you with the same quality of work, you are welcome to hire me. Otherwise, I cannot be of service to you.

Thank you for your interest in my work. I hope that we can work together. If I have misunderstood what you are proposing, please forgive me and send more information. If you have any other questions or comments I welcome them also.

Have a great day,
Paris Vega

What do you think? Was I too harsh?

It was one of those moments where I could feel my adrenaline trying to take over the keyboard. Luckily, no expletives made it past brain-to-hands filter.

I’m not going to get any further into the spec work debate other than the links below:



8 responses to “Say no to spec work… even in France.”

  1. Nah, I don’t think it’s harsh. You know what your work is worth to you. I say if the client is not willing to pay you what makes it worth your time then it’s not about the logo it’s about the money. Be careful your backbone is showing.

  2. Kathryn Thomas said “Nope, not harsh, I don’t think. Email’s well written. Unless someone’s just getting out of college and trying to build a portfolio – at which point quality and experience are a question – I don’t quite understand why a designer would do spec work. Don’t work unless you’re getting paid. 😉 PS – How s/he found you – HILARIOUS!”

    Thanks, Kathryn. I agree that newbies out of college could build their portfolio on jobs like this. However, from personal experience I know its possible to land paying jobs while still in school. I would even even recommend donating work to a non-profit organization over doing any spec-work since you know that it would at least be used, giving your work public exposure.

  3. Good point about non-profits. That's the route I went. After a bit more thought, I will say that if a major client (read: Coca-Cola, Nike, cetera) asks you to do spec work, a client of that size is worth considering.

  4. parisvega Avatar

    Hmmmm… It would be hard to resist the chance to work with a HUGE client. I wonder if those types of clients would even ask for spec work?

  5. Paris logo Design
    Good keyword.

  6. I love france.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *