I’m a self-employed graphic designer. In the
old days, when I was greener than a leprechaun’s testicles, nothing
would make me consider suicide quicker than a potential client who was,
in fact, just some deluded jackass. The hook was usually, “If you do
this job cheap, I’ve loads more work for you!” and I bought that line
more times than anyone with an ounce of sense ought to have.
This morning, the following was posted on
It’s been doing the rounds on design boards and blogs in a big
community whoop because it captures and excoriates so perfectly the
ignorance and arrogance inflicted on designers by design morons.
The post was quickly flagged and removed (i.e. censored) by
CraigsList users, but not before it became the gift that keeps on
giving. Who was that masked crusader? Designers everywhere owe him a hot
coffee and a big hug.
Post from CraigsList
Every day, there are more and more Craigs List posts seeking
“artists” for everything from auto graphics to comic books to corporate
logo designs. More people are finding themselves in need of some form of
But what they’re NOT doing, unfortunately, is realizing how rare someone with these particular talents can be.
To those who are “seeking artists”, let me ask you; How many people
do you know, personally, with the talent and skill to perform the
services you need? A dozen? Five? One? …none?
More than likely, you don’t know any. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be posting on craigslist to find them.
And this is not really a surprise.
In this country, there are almost twice as many neurosurgeons as
there are professional illustrators. There are eleven times as many
certified mechanics. There are SEVENTY times as many people in the IT
So, given that they are less rare, and therefore less in demand,
would it make sense to ask your mechanic to work on your car for free?
Would you look him in the eye, with a straight face, and tell him that
his compensation would be the ability to have his work shown to others
as you drive down the street?
Would you offer a neurosurgeon the “opportunity” to add your name to
his resume as payment for removing that pesky tumor? (Maybe you could
offer him “a few bucks” for “materials”. What a deal!)
Would you be able to seriously even CONSIDER offering your web
hosting service the chance to have people see their work, by viewing
your website, as their payment for hosting you?
If you answered “yes” to ANY of the above, you’re obviously insane.
If you answered “no”, then kudos to you for living in the real world.
But then tell me… why would you think it is okay to live out the
same, delusional, ridiculous fantasy when seeking someone whose
abilities are even less in supply than these folks?
Graphic artists, illustrators, painters, etc., are skilled tradesmen.
As such, to consider them as, or deal with them as, anything less than
professionals fully deserving of your respect is both insulting and a
bad reflection on you as a sane, reasonable person. In short, it makes
you look like a twit.
A few things you need to know;
It is not a “great opportunity” for an artist to have his work
seen on your car/’zine/website/bedroom wall, etc. It IS a “great
opportunity” for YOU to have their work there.
It is not clever to seek a “student” or “beginner” in an attempt
to get work for free. It’s ignorant and insulting. They may be
“students”, but that does not mean they don’t deserve to be paid for
their hard work. You were a “student” once, too. Would you have taken
that job at McDonalds with no pay, because you were learning essential
job skills for the real world? Yes, your proposition it JUST as stupid.
The chance to have their name on something that is going to be
seen by other people, whether it’s one or one million, is NOT a valid
enticement. Neither is the right to add that work to their “portfolio”.
They get to do those things ANYWAY, after being paid as they should.
It’s not compensation. It’s their right, and it’s a given.
Stop thinking that you’re giving them some great chance to work.
Once they skip over your silly ad, as they should, the next ad is
usually for someone who lives in the real world, and as such, will pay
them. There are far more jobs needing these skills than there are people
who possess these skills.
Students DO need “experience”. But they do NOT need to get it by
giving their work away. In fact, this does not even offer them the
experience they need. Anyone who will not/can not pay them is obviously
the type of person or business they should be ashamed to have on their
resume anyway. Do you think professional contractors list the
“experience” they got while nailing down a loose step at their
grandmother’s house when they were seventeen?
If you your company or gig was worth listing as desired experience,
it would be able to pay for the services it received. The only
experience they will get doing free work for you is a lesson learned in
what kinds of scrubs they should not lower themselves to deal with.
(This one is FOR the artists out there, please pay attention.)
Some will ask you to “submit work for consideration”. They may even be
posing as some sort of “contest”. These are almost always scams. They
will take the work submitted by many artists seeking to win the
“contest”, or be “chosen” for the gig, and find what they like most.
They will then usually have someone who works for them, or someone who
works incredibly cheap because they have no originality or talent of
their own, reproduce that same work, or even just make slight
modifications to it, and claim it as their own. You will NOT be paid,
you will NOT win the contest. The only people who win, here, are the
underhanded folks who run these ads. This is speculative, or “spec”,
work. It’s risky at best, and a complete scam at worst. I urge you to
avoid it, completely. For more information on this subject, please visit
So to artists/designers/illustrators looking for work, do everyone a
favor, ESPECIALLY yourselves, and avoid people who do not intend to pay
you. Whether they are “spec” gigs, or just some guy who wants a free
mural on his living room walls. They need you. You do NOT need them.
And for those who are looking for someone to do work for free… please
wake up and join the real world. The only thing you’re accomplishing is
to insult those with the skills you need. Get a clue
Log in to alivenotdead.com with one of these trusted providers
NOTE: Users of the original website please Click here to reactivate your account.
New users - Join the alivenotdead.comcommunity instantly by confirming your identity with a trusted authentication service.
Returning users - Please use with the same authentication service to login to your alivenotdead.com account.
First time users can create a new account from scratch by authenticate using any of the following trusted services:
WARNING: If you disconnect all your social media accounts your profile will be locked and you will not be able to access it again. If you want to keep your page, please add another social media account and then remove this one.
If you understand the risks, click this box to deauthorize your account.