No hope of gratis drinks on the Distillery – till now?

So Jim Davies thinks we can collectively end free-pitching with the judicious application of a little industry solidarity. If only.

So Jim Davies thinks we can collectively end free-pitching with the judicious application of a little industry solidarity. If only.

At Design Distillery we maintained for many years, including in the pages of Design Week, that we ‘did not do free-pitches’. And we have been told, more often than we’d like, that no free-pitch means no work. Jim Davies advises us to say no. We have done this and in the process lost out to other consultancies which we know maintain a public stance of saying no, but in private say yes.

We are not particularly keen on working for nothing when doing speculative pitches, and we avoid those that are ill-conceived. But in the hope of winning a percentage, and in the absence of a really effective alternative, we now feel we have little choice.

It goes without saying that free- pitching cannot produce the best results, for client or consultancy. And its true that it drains resources and squeezes margins.

However, it’s not enough to hope it will go away if, as suggested, we designers stop being ‘mister nice guy’ to our clients, but are nice to each other instead.

Can anyone in the industry provide a really workable solution? We have tried and I admit we have failed. But we are at least still here.

Leslie Millard

Managing director

Design Distillery

London SE1

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