Recently the global design community has witnessed a new movement. A movement called AntiSpec. Slow to catch on with many part of the design community, AntiSpec is a movement that is “supposedly” focused on saving designers from – Spec(ulative) work, which is a cancer within the design industry. Recently when I stumbled upon this movement I was amazed by the initiative and a little confused after reading about it. But what exactly is this whole initiative ? Are Designers dying of Cancer? Are Designers not finding jobs? No. Lets begin.
Well what is AntiSpec ?
AntiSpec is an initiative by Mark Collins from UK. He is the founder and constant source of updates for the AntiSpec movement. To really understand the nature of this initiative, we need to dive in slowly into this topic. As I mentioned earlier, it focuses on how Speculative work is a cancer in the Design industry. Well whats Spec work? Spec work – Crowd Sourcing – Spec competitions, they all involve a single designer or agency working and designing for free in the hope of winning a project or reward.
In short and simple words, today a lot of online platforms provide opportunities for clients seeking design aid to simply tap potential designers and designs in the most easiest manner. All they have to do is pick a suitable site that host design contest, pay them a fee, host a competition to design the creatives they need. That’s the easy part. Now here’s the deal. These sites attract thousands of budding and well experienced designers and artist. They participate by designing an entry and submit it to the site. In this fashion the client receives abundant entries and not forgetting tonnes of concepts and ideas. Well like any race, we have to have a winner. Eventually the client picks a favorite design and the design is awarded with a cash prize etc.
Understanding AntiSpec ?
Lets put this in numbers. 1 client, 1 competition, 2,00,000 designers active on the host site, 1600 designers participate in the client competition, 1 winner. The other side of the coin – 1599 designers lose. Client has received not only a winning design but also those 1599 losing concepts and designs. Expected right ? Well here’s where the AntiSpec comes into play. AntiSpec stands up for all those designers who lose. It has a general message. DO NOT use these sites. Your efforts need not go unpaid. Regardless of the fact whether you a starter or professional, you shouldn’t work for free in this manner.
You’re better off contacting a charity and designing their website for free to add to your folio rather than pissing into the wind at a crowdsourced website. Become an intern. Contact your local design agencies. Freelancers and design agencies can explain to potential clients that they have a policy not to work for free. It is proven that clients can respond positively to the self-assurance that comes from an agency that isn’t willing to sell their soul. – AntiSpec
Being a part of AntiSpec ?
So that is basically what AntiSpec is all about. Aims at creating awareness about the this growing trend where potential talent and hard work is being washed down the drain. Just to get a little bigger picture here, do checkout the AntiSpec website – www.antispec.com
Currently the AntiSpec movement is supported by various communities worldwide and thousands of individual designers and artist. This movement is creating awareness and gaining a crowd gradually. They have got support from a lot of sponsors like Media Temple , Invision and Behance . They main goals are :
1. Make the AntiSpec message clear and easy to absorb.
2. Gather thousands of designers to unite to help drive the message home.
Things you can do for AntiSpec:
1 » Automate process so folks can add themselves [COMPLETE]
2 » Need links to existing articles on the web regarding spec work and crowdsourcing.
3 » Need some copy written for this website. [IN PROGRESS]
5 »Web badges of sorts that folks can add to their own websites to help spread the word and show support.
Under the AntiSpec scanner –
The AnitSpec tries to keep tab of such crowd sourced events. They have successfully archived a couple of site and past events that have had designers design for free. Here are some of them.
- The New York Times targets cartoonist to work for free – Read about it
- You won’t find a self-respecting professional designer at 99designs – Read about it
- Penguin books crowdsource book cover for best-selling author John Green – Read about it
- Obama supports job creation by launching a spec competition. Oh the irony. –Read about it
- Paul McCartney & Rod Stewart Crowdsourcing Promotional Material – Read about it
- 1stWebDesigner launches a spec competition – Read about it
- CBC Television’s Gerry Dee wants a logo for his new TV show – Read about it
- The Huffington Post, an AOL company, is seeking free design. Shame on them. – Read about it