What if my manager supports spec work?

I am a very vocal person when it comes to discussing whether we should use crowdsourced alternatives (read: spec work) to manage a design job. For one, crowdsourced alternatives, sounding good as they may do, only put designers in the last place of the ecosystem. The only ones beneficial are the clients. They get to pay cheaply or under the market prices, and designers risk of not getting paid after hours of hard work.

True, market prices are not the same across the “markets” that this kind of service “serves”. However, it sounds like market prices are put into the same level from one country to another, from one market to another.

More important than that, it makes design works some ready-made commodities, much the same like the groceries you buy in supermarkets.

True, some design products like fashion are ready-made, but also, the real designer fashion products are not cheap. You pay for the brand and design. Also, branding projects are not the same, they have intangible aspects: value proposition, idealism, experience, promise, and the dynamic array of applications on the field. You can’t just “buy” a logo ready-made and put it into perspective.

Think about the hard work (or even, quick work) of the designers. Designers are always ready for some quick works, but then they’re not giving you the best. Even for a one-hour work, it is still an intellectual sweat. Would you want to work as an accountant or doctor and only get paid when the company is profitable or the patient gets healthy? Exactly.

When a manager then continued to counterargument that “creativity can come from anywhere.” What is the cost of this creativity, I may ask?

I would rather hire a design freelancer or an outside contractor to do the job but making sure that they get paid for the process they’ve done, than outsourcing this job into clueless designers out there trying to make a “side” living outside their primary job (or if they have any), risking their talents like a beggar asking for coins in the streets.

Creativity comes from anywhere, but first pick the right sources so it promotes sustainable design process, and hire a designer so they can curate the results from these sources into something meaningful.

Like the Fiji Airways rebranding process below who involved a local Fijian artist. Full respect.