Vox Pop

In a recent letter, Andrew Thomas of brand consultancy Inaria urged the design community to accept that free-pitching exists and try to regulate the process rather than dismissing it out of hand (DW 10 August). Is there any merit in this approach?

‘I accept that you can’t stop people from free-pitching and you certainly can’t blame clients if design groups queue up to give them free work. The consequences are that clients think design is cheap and the process sets up a low level of relationship. You’ll never be able to regulate the process. The ideal is that all design consultancies stop creative pitching completely, paid or unpaid.’

Richard Williams, Managing partner, Williams Murray Hamm

‘What a fantastic idea – especially in a downturned market. It’ll perpetuate creative mediocrity and bankrupt those involved, therefore making the principled and confident consultancies with a reputation for paid creative excellence stronger, even more desirable and raise the value of design. A true seller’s market and an industry solution at last – well done, Thomas.’

Jonathan Ford, Creative partner, Pearlfisher

‘Free-pitching is abundant and here to stay. The design industry is highly competitive, we rarely operate on a level playing field and regulation cannot change that. However, “best practice” championed by the design industry might make the process a bit fairer to consultancies and actually deliver better value to clients.’

Mike Booth, Creative director – retail, Design House

‘Free-pitching only exists because we allow it. A paid creative pitch, provided it’s a level playing field, provides both consultancy and client an excellent introduction opportunity. An unpaid creative pitch, however, demands little or no client commitment. Hope prevails. Hidden agendas abound. Consultancy morale and cash are easily squandered. Let’s agree an industry standard formula for paid pitching; one that balances risk and reward and then stick to it.’

Adrian Collins, Managing director, Ziggurat Brand Consultants

‘Free creative pitching is probably always going to be with us, but this does not alter the fact that as an industry we should not participate in the practice. There is always a choice, and to introduce any sort of regulation merely legitimises and encourages the very thing we should be trying to eradicate. Just say no.’

Martin Cox, Director, Blast

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