NO! Spec

This letter was taken from the No! Spec site…

Dear Designer
I am looking for a good designer to revamp our website and to redo our logo. I have spoken to my bosses and they think it’s a good idea, but we dont know how much we want to spend yet. The cheaper the better of course!

We’re not sure what we want our new look to be, but since you’re the professional, we’ll leave it to you to propose. Show us 3 mockups of what you think our new company website and logo should look like. We want to be professional yet friendly, serious yet creative. Something like what Apple has done.

If we like your mockups, we’ll choose one and hire you for the job. If we don’t, we’ll let you know also. And if we like your ideas but you’re too expensive, we may ask someone cheaper to do it, so please quote as low as possible.

But rest assured, we have plenty of design jobs in the future! I have to go now, I have a free lunch waiting for me at a restaurant.
Yours sincerely,


When I first found this site I didn’t quite fully understand what it meant, then I read this article and wow, it hit close to home. How many of you do any type of creative work for a living? If you do, then you know that it is hard to put a price on what you create, but more importantly, your time is of value along with your creativity and so it is important that you do get paid.

So many designers, and regular every day workers, don’t place enough value on their work. They will go years without getting raises that they deserve. They will work over-time for free. I even remember a family member who was required to go to her bosses house and baby-sit her son on the company clock! Ugh. Where does it end?

My close friend Jimmy McWhinney always impressed me with his ability to say “No” to an employment opportunity. He could easily walk away from a lucrative position if it didn’t allow him the flexibility that he needed or the pay he required. I on the other hand, worked at the same place, we did the exact same thing, we made the same money and I was always doing everything that I was told to do, no matter the cost. I sacrificed valueable time and once in a lifetime opportunities in order to meet the demands of my company only later to find out that they weren’t nearly as pressed for my services as they made me believe.

The No Spec site really caught my interest because I used to do blog design on the side. Each design I did required at least 4 hours worth of work, but normally they required about 10-15. I never charged more than 150 for a site design – but I rarely even got that. When you think about the 100’s of hours I have put into learning how to do what I do and then add that to the amount of actual time spent designing the site, then the site design ends up costing next to nothing.

The No! Spec group is doing a good job of spreading the word to designers that they should never work for free with the promise of getting paid. If you have a portfolio then people should be able to see what type of work that you do, and decide from that if they want to employ your services. I too have been the victim of having designed something for someone only to later see some of my ideas implemented without any actual monies coming my way.

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