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Why we don't pitch our creativity for work.

Before we get started, let’s clarify what the term “pitching” means to us. Pitching for work is the process of coming up with designs based on a brief given by a potential client for a new job. On the strength of those designs and the reasoning behind them, the job may or may not be commissioned.

What’s wrong with that?

We fervently believe that the design industry is one that gets taken for granted and abused. We understand why some freelancers and agencies opt to pitch for work - the draw of a big job, bills to pay etc… yet we challenge you to see the legitimacy in this kind of scenario:

Client: We’ve got a big job coming up and we’d like to see if you are interested in doing the work.
Design agency: That sounds great, we’d love to quote this for you.
Client: Actually what we were looking for was some designs for us to look at and see what you can do and if we like them. If they are good enough then we can look at some numbers.
Design agency: You want us to create some designs for you first?
Client: Yeah
Design agency: And what if you don’t like the designs?
Client: I’m sure it won’t come to that but if we don’t like the designs then we can call it quits.
Design Agency: And we’ve invested time in the job that you don’t want to pay for.
Client: Well do you want to pitch for the work or not?

Whilst you personally may not be the type to expect this from a design agency, this happens a lot - too much and it needs to change.

Would you walk into a coffee shop and ask for a caramel macchiato, and only if you like it will pay for it? Would you ask a builder to build a wall and when it’s done, if you like it then you would pay the bill? No, you wouldn’t, you simply wouldn’t do this.

The darker side of pitching

We have heard from our peers in the industry that aside from the rejection of losing out on pitches, there have been occasions where those designs (the ones that the client ‘rejected’) ended up being used. Spotted a few months later with perhaps the slightest of changes if at all. The unscrupulous client decided after all that they did like the designs and took them to someone else to be ‘replicated’ for a cheaper price. This, fortunately, isn’t a common situation but it does happen.

Choose a design agency on trust.

It doesn’t matter if you are a freelancer or a 40 strong agency, the creative process involved to produce the best work possible is due to years of experience, understanding and training. That experience should be respected and a potential client should not expect free work as ‘a foot in the door’. Displaying evidence of past work within an online portfolio or case study should be enough for someone to decide if the design agency is suitably equipped to handle the task.

Team D.C

Depict Creative is a Wolverhampton based branding, design and marketing agency. Creating logo design, branding, websites, videos, good old graphic design and more! Stay up to date with our news stories by joining our newsletter.