Why Crowdsourcing Design Doesn’t Work

Needle.

“Spec(ulative) work is a cancer within the design industry and all designers need to understand their role in fighting it.” – AntiSpec

Spec Work. These words can certainly make nostrils flare in the design industry, and they lead to one underlying meaning: unethical labour.

More commonly known as crowdsourcing, spec work has been spread widely through the design community in the last few years. Now you may be wondering:

What is Speculative (Spec) Work?

Spec work is any kind of creative work that has been submitted or completed by designers to prospective clients, when a fair or reasonable fee has not been agreed upon in writing. It requires designers to invest precious time and resources, in the hope of winning a project.

Basically, it means working for free. And not surprisingly, it’s almost never a good deal for designers.

Why does Spec Work Exist?

Crowdsourcing has been powered by companies…

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