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May 15, 2011

69 - Never work for free


* Unless it's for  friends or family!

Did you ever wonder how a SNOTM would look like if it was drawn in a cheap hotel room in Toronto, without a scanner, a graphic tablet or a mouse...? Wonder no mo!

Let me explain a little bit further on this sensitive subject matter (at least to graphic designers). I think it's great to work for free or be an intern when you are still in school or you just finished college. I don't think it's ok when big magazines or companies that make money don't want to pay you and try to convince you saying that it will give you tons of exposure. Let's make this clear: exposure doesn't pay the rent. I can't pay my groceries with exposure and, even though I didn't try, I can't go to the New Yorker and say that I want to work for them because the last shitty company I freelanced for promised me a lot of exposure.

Thanks for reading. 

Edit: I lost a lot of comments that were posted here on thursday... blogger had some trouble. Sorry guys.

34 comments:

Eva said...

It sounds like you had some bad experience...
- What kind of pens did you use for that? Lookin good!

tabares said...

Good advice, i've been in this situation a couple of times.

pluww said...

Gotta eat~

theTsaritsa said...

I once worked for free for a very disorganized company and it was an incredibly stupid move on my part. Never again.

Haven said...

Good call. I don't care what any company says. Designs/Products take Time. Time is money these days. It's an oft used phrase but that doesn't mean it isn't true.

David Henderson said...

Makes sense to me.

Mladen said...

You're an S.O.B., haha! Love it!

Anonymous said...

Hm... I think you need a qualifier here. Maybe exposure doesn't pay rent, but this very website gives your work away for free, and I'm sure you welcome the exposure. So this very website contradicts your message.
Maybe it should say "never do commissions for free?"

Alex Noriega said...

yes, anonymous, I agree, I only get exposure from this blog, but it's exposure that I managed to get by my own. But I agree with your point... "never do commissions for free" would be a better way of expressing it-

pleytonp said...

Soy ilustradora independiente, así que supongo que sabes cuantas veces me ha tocado lidiar con este asunto.
Te dejo un link que me pasó otro ilustrador http://shouldiworkforfree.com/espanol.htm

Un abrazo!
pley

Howard said...

As a professional magician, I fully agree. I work for free for hospice, cancer, veterans organizations and for family and friends. I've spent 35 years honing my craft and performing skills. Even when billing $400 an hour, that's $0.35 an hour for the years of practice and learning. Don't ever give it away unless you owe them something or want to get laid!

Raf said...

Nice one!

Lesson learnt the hard way for me :S

geooorge said...

I can honestly relate. There are 2-3 friends that i'll do whatever they want for free and have a smile on my face.
But when a certain client didn't like it that they paid more after they called and wanted a second poster of the same, only in a different layout to put in a different place, well... you know...

becca said...

lesson learned and never forgotten

CMCK said...

Thats some good advice..you go alex!

brent said...

all your readers are your friends right??

Matthew K. said...

Great advice.

Mun-Yeen said...

Well said. *thumbs up*

Alison Cross said...

this is so true. Have done a lot of work for free for a friend on the understanding that it will result in paid work. but not REALLY working out. So good advice - don't give your talents away!

AX

trista_sea said...

LOL

Tapanga Jansen said...

wisdum rite thrrr

Elloa said...

Interesting! I actually worked for free for a guy seven months ago, and it turned into a quite well paid job (although admittedly it was paid quite poorly for the first few months). Sorry to be the one who disagrees - I think what you're saying is mostly right. I also see lots of people volunteering their way into organisations, too :)

Don Dee said...

I sometimes work for free (as a professional video editor). I do so for charitable institutions. I have no money to give away, just talent. It works out just fine.

Emma V said...

UNFAILINGLY and BRUTALLY accurate. Exactly what I needed to be reminded of today. Thank you.

geooorge said...

Volunteering is one thing, but when someone is asking you to make something for free that they want to use to gain money for themselves is another thing.

Azuma-chan said...

Very true and nice advice

Cirilo Vargas said...

assino embaixo!

Viisshnu said...

ha ha good one LOL

Jonas Santos said...

VERY NICE MAN!!

A HUGH FROM BRAZIL!!

MW said...

Excellent advice. My amended version: Work for free sparingly, but on your own terms. I work for free more than I should (I'm a magazine writer/editor), but for publications that I love and believe in, and that just can't pay. I'm OK with it. I wouldn't be if their financial circumstances were different. I never accept exposure as currency; my rent is too high.

Also, hi from Toronto! I hope my city was good to you while you were here.

My Aisy said...

yup...i agree with you...never work for free...
always others take advantage by that...

Erin said...

Ugh, people do this to me all the time! Hello, art costs money you jerks. My time is money. My creativity is money. You don't want to pay? You don't get jack.

erikig said...

Never ever work for free,
Unless its for friends and family.
In which case,
charge double : )

zeus amadeus said...

Good advice. Wish i'd heard it before I started working for a friend who is now cranky with me because I can't keep working for free anymore :(

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