Essence Design drops plan to auction its services

Essence Design is dropping plans to auction its services after receiving negative feedback from readers of

The Birmingham-based consultancy unveiled the initiative, intended to gain it exposure and find the current market rate for its services, on Design Week’s website (, 24 February).

The story prompted condemnatory e-mails and comments from readers, including British Design Innovation chief executive Maxine Horn, who said, ‘This idea will cause one almighty stink in the design industry.’

Essence Design creative director Regine Wilber says, ‘Consider this a dead duck in the water. We naively thought that this would be an opportunity for a handful of businesses which may find it hard to raise the money to pay for bespoke high-quality design.’

The Design Business Association is welcoming Essence’s move to shelve its plans. ‘I applaud their decision,’ says DBA president Nick Ramshaw, ‘Now, more than ever, we need to prove to clients the value of what we do.’

The consultancy had been in the middle of building an Ebay-style auction section for its website, where it planned to sell Web design and branding services to the highest bidders.

‘Call us humble, older and wiser regarding how easy it is to potentially damage your reputation,’ says Wilber. ‘It was meant to be a bit of fun, but if it is such a sensitive issue then it is not worth going through with it.’

Hide Comments (1)Show Comments (1)
  • James Freeman-Gray November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    What a crying shame. One of the first innovative moves from a design agency to delve in to the issue of how we charge, and we shoot it down.
    The design industry has viewed this stunt in it’s most literal context, without being able to see past the obvious to the vital debate over what our serivces are, and what they’re worth.
    Anyone who saw the £600K+ Barclaycard logo and knew it could have been done for £500 by a Freelancer should take a good, honest look at how we price the service or trade we sell.
    Congrats to Essence, who, however naively, brought a very important issue up from the deep. Keep it up!

  • Post a comment

Latest articles