D&AD stands by its ‘competition’, not ‘free pitch’

To call D&AD’s Call for Entries a ‘free-pitch’ and to label D&AD as unsympathetic to the ethics of design is a little unfair (Comment, DW 29 April). The really key point is that D&AD is a charity (incidentally spending over £1.5m on its education programmes); it’s not a business engaged in profiting from its work.

Show me a consultancy or ad agency that doesn’t take a different view on fees for pro-bono work – many do it for free or on an ‘outside costs only’ basis, and long may that continue.

Unlike commercial free-pitches, it’s an open-to-all invitation, and participants do not get involved for any kind of commercial gain – there isn’t any (though there is the holiday you mention). They lose nothing by declining. They do it to support D&AD and for the chance to show what they can do – an escape from the commercial humdrum and a chance for a bit of fun.

In all these respects, it’s no different from the Design Business Association’s [product] Challenge, except perhaps that companies like us have to invest more time and effort in that. We do it to support the DBA and Helen Hamlyn Research Centre, and to show what we can do.

For the same reasons, we are helping design the nose for Red Nose Day. All of these examples and countless like them do not, in my view, qualify as free-pitching.

Dick Powell

D&AD president-elect and Seymour Powell partner

London SW6

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