Europe’s larger and more successful design consultancies should take a lead in refusing to free-pitch, says Rowland Heming, president of Belgian consultancy Pineapple Design and secretary of the Europe-wide Packaging Design Association.
Heming claims the design industry’s bigger groups have a responsibility to set an example.
New or ailing design consultancies cannot be expected to stop free-pitching, he recognises. Neither can clients be instantly persuaded. But educating clients is the only realistic way of reducing the practice, he says.
“It’s a very long and slow job. We do a lot of lecturing in marketing schools to try to teach clients before they are even clients,” he says.
Writing in the newsletter of the US-based Package Design Council, Heming says the situation in countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal is worse than the Northern European countries, including the UK and Belgium.
In countries like Italy “design groups have to compete against advertising agencies who have always used free-pitching as a way of winning work”.
Heming says Belgian design consultancies face problems similar to those of their counterparts in the UK when it comes to government departments and other public sector clients asking for free-pitches. “We are trying to educate them also,” he comments.