Big names get behind free pitching debate

A big thank you to the signatories of the letter on free pitching (see page 10) for pledging action where industry bodies have only uttered words. Free pitching is one of the major things holding back design compared to other creative industries. If clients had more respect for design and how it could boost their business, they might be prepared to pay for it – at all stages of the process.

It isn’t the first time industry figures have addressed free pitching. Some years ago Marcello Minale took out a series of ads in Design Week, urging designers to sign a petition saying they wouldn’t do free creative work. Many signed up, though there was a feeling that some used the ad as a confessional, absolving themselves from blame for a free pitch they’d just been through. But, for all its boldness, Minale’s ploy didn’t get any further, and didn’t rouse industry bodies to action.

This new bid promises to be different. It involves more than one key design figure and a network of people working to move free pitching on from the debating stage. And it focuses on just one area of design – brand identity. Pitching differs between design disciplines and trying to legislate for all of them has perhaps hampered progress on the issue before.

Brand identity is a good start. A bit of a pick ‘n’ mix of packaging and branding, screen graphics and multimedia, and increasingly advertising, it touches on most procurement methods, from one-off pitches to rosters. It often crosses international boundaries and involves relatively experienced design buyers on the the client side.

Good luck to those behind this initiative. We hope it attracts the support it deserves, not least from industry bodies. The venture’s unlikely to be bogged down in cliques and committees – communication by e-mail should give everyone a say, so use it.

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