Unpaid professional projects - general thoughts?

I’ve been offered my 1st freelance project through a Uni scheme. I’ll not go into the details yet, but it’s a fairly straight forward bracket design for Plasma’s screens & a bit of packaging. Should be no more than a weeks work I reckon. As a recentish graduate there are loads of positive reasons to taking it on…client experience, professional addition to my folio, seeing something going into production, helping me get future employemnt, the fun of it, etc.

But I can’t help but feel I’m being taken advantage off. After all my education cost me about £10K to enable me to do stuff like this. If i was the client I’d never expect something for nothing. I’m still waiting on info on liability, etc just to cover myself.

I’ll definately be doing it as design work is tough at the moment, but any thoughts, experience, etc?

As the old saying says ‘pay a man his worth’. :unamused:


I would keep pushing for some kind of compensation. If not in cash then maybe merchandise, gift card or something… maybe a few dinners to a nice steakhouse that you can take your girl too … or guy…

keep wondering why industrial designers must do so much FREElance to kickstart their careers. do junior engineers, lawyers, dentists, accountants or others work for free to prove their worth after graduation?

so what does this say about how much others trust an ID degree anyways. oh, crap, let us see what you do before we ever pay you.

…rather than work for free, do the work for a percentage of each one produced up to an pre-agreed cap…you may never get paid but the shame is on them then…

I agree 100% with you…I always wonder myself why we have to prove we are able to make a good work, while other carrers don´t?
I was dealing with a client like that…since February, she gave me some blister packages to develop a new design for her…(just graphic part). I did like 10 different layouts, plus two necessaires cases. I didn´t see the color of money until now…Last time I went to her office, she asked me to do my price list, and then I sent to her by email…She didn´t call me so far…
But I think, clients like this it´s better loose than find one.


I know it the US they have minimum wage laws… and there there for a reason. No one should work for free. Granted you can call it an internship. Then you don’t have to pay if you don’t want to.

Here in the US there are many paid internships. Why as someone who graduated do they think you’re good enough to do professional work but not good enought to compensate? Sounds lik exploitation to me.

it’s advertised as a ‘volantary project’. Looks like i’vre got the go ahead, so I’m looking forward to meeting my 1st client, producing my first pro sketch through to the final solution. :sunglasses: