Accept that free-pitching will always be a grey area

John Cameron’s implied (Letters, DW 20 October) that design consultancies which pitch for free are no better than house bricks. Wouldn’t life be great if it were so crystal clear. Unfortunately, reality doesn’t exist in the black and white. It lives in a perpetual mist of grey. There’s a definite high moral ground here.

But to get on to the high moral ground you first have to get within jumping distance of it. You have to get to the point where you can afford to pick and choose new business opportunities. Fine, if you’re established, but where does that leave smaller consultancies still climbing the ladder?

We totally support the argument against free-pitching, but free-pitching in the early days helped our company to grow to the £m turnover, award-winning status it enjoys today.

Were we desperately in need of new business, as Cameron implies? You bet. Did we need to maintain studio moral? Absolutely. Did we lack professional credentials? Yes, they don’t fall out of the sky, you know. What about personal integrity? You’d have to ask those clients still with us seven years down the line.

Of course free-pitching is bad and clients need to be educated, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of our up- and-coming consultancies. A culture change is required which organisations such as the Design Business Association should be spearheading.

So let’s leave the black and white behind, acknowledge the grey and get on with it.

Karen Woodhead

Marketing director

White Space

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