Things that suck
Things that suck

Things that suck touches on the design industry, politics, and American life in general. It’s perfect timing really, as just yesterday I came across an announcement concerning what’s on my own list of ‘Things that suck’ – spec competitions.

The United Way Logo Contest for Toronto is, in my opinion, a spec contest.

For a bit of background regarding spec work, read Why Speculative Work is Unethical, a letter sent by the executive director of The Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario (RGD Ontario) to the editor of Marketing magazine.

When protesting the 2010 Olympics logo contest, the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada stated “A spec design request or contest means asking designers to work for free. For designers, this is a waste of time and it also erodes long-term buyer-designer relationships. GDC advises its members not to participate in requests for spec design or design contests and recommends that organizations decide which designer is right for a project by reviewing portfolios of previous work and looking at the designers’ understanding of the needs of the project.”

I feel that the United Way is ignoring the concerns of the design industry. Yes, non profits do ask for pro bono work, but do they run contests for attorneys and accountants to pick just the one? Not on your life. They ask for pro bono.

I sent a United Way Protest Letter to the United Way, and from their response they just don’t get it.

Should the United Way be above design contest rules as set out by Society of Graphic Designers of Canada where this is being held? Should the United Way be above the contest rules as set out by GAG? My personal opinion is a resounding NO. And for me and others, we’ll be sending our donation dollars to a non profit who (IOHO) respects our industry.

Recently the GDC protested a spec competition from the Department of Canadian Heritage, and received a “Oops! We Made a Mistake!

But until this is resolved, I’ll be adding the United Way Logo Contest to my personal list of Things that suck.

UPDATE: The United Way is now sending out a different response than the one I received (not to me personally, but to others who have protested) “We will be meeting with your colleagues from RGD in the near future to better understand the position and to determine steps moving forward.”

From the site:
A running rant about bad television, crappy products, horrible service, mindless politics, corporate and government ineptitude, moronic media, public idiots, stupid entertainment, etc.

Things that suck is by: Cranky Blogger

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