The idea that designers (or anyone, really) should create work for free– or as it’s lovingly called in the industry–creating work off of ‘spec’ (short for speculation!), is never a good idea. You see a “job posting” that advertises more of a contest, where the winner of said contest “wins the design job”, continue right along. It cheapens the entire industry by allowing people to think that you, a trained passionate designer, can simply just throw your talents to the wind.
I have this view point, and yet, recently, without any sort of hesitation or negativity at all, engaged in spec work.
While it’s this line of thought is more aligned with justification than I care to admit, I can do work for free if I feel it will benefit ME sometime later on. Can I get future clients/projects with this? Can I attract a new industry, dabble in a new medium, or explore a style that’s always interested me? If the answer is ‘yes’ or even a ‘hmmm, possibly?’ that’s reason enough for me.
The reason for it this time was for the love of movies. Film is probably one of my all time favorite mediums and I love how graphic design can support the separate work, skew the work, or completely demolish it. It seems like a sister medium to design and I have always wanted to get into that.
So I did.
The posting asked for a portfolio, the resumé and all the regular stuff, but also added “if you wanted to take it a step further” (to which I say outloud: I always do) show us what you got.
I don’t think I could have been more excited. I spent the rest of that day pouring through pages and pages of hi-res screen shots from some of my most favorite movies to noodle around with. I figure if I can spend so much free time doing something, it’s no longer really about the ‘spec’ work. Maybe I’ve got a whole untapped avenue of photoshopping visually sumptuous things around the films I love so much. It really does sound awesome.
Thought I’d share the results of this fun experiment: