I wish someone would do an article on the various ways companies get designers to work for free, The latest invent-hunt websites and “cloud-sourcing” design seem to be a new incarnation of companies being able to finagle design thinkers to submit ideas. Any thoughts? Good, bad, indifferent?
All bad. No good.
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The most common one is for some company to run a design competition or sponsor a competition to get free ideas. That’s the one I see periodically. The other is to promise equity/royalties which is hard to draft agreements cause of all the contingencies and loopholes. They want you to think their idea is so great you should be working on it for free and jumping aboard. But to have an idea is one thing. Knowing how to bring it to market is another and a huge part of the equation. If they suck at that part, you’re never seeing a dime. Even if they are good at it, you might just have to take their word for the sales, unless you got $$$ to audit and litigate. That is if they don’t stiff you outright.
Kickstarter.com is different, you are the one in control of the funds after you are fully funded but you do all the getting to production work.
Quirky you get a little bit of the action, they do the rest of the bringing it to market work.
Invention submission outfits are, from what I hear, almost all scams.
If you have ideas you need to take responsibiity for getting them to market and not hand it off thinking someone will do all the work and give you a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. That’s unrealistic. Also money makes people weird and many end up thinking of ways to get out of paying you.
I NEVER DO TOTALLY FREE DESIGN. If you are going to gamble, take less of a risk and at least take something upfront in case it never pans out. A reduced rate or fee in exchange for services would make more sense if you are going to entertain this route beause chances are it’ll never pan out. At least this way you have a foot in reality and a foot in dreaming. I’ve rarely, if ever, seen anyone make it big on desiging for free cause people using free designers usually don’t have what it takes to bring it to market and if they did, they are so unethical as to try to get something for nothing.