DBA slams consultancy’s free design day

Digital consultancy NS Design is offering its services for free for one day next month, in a move the Design Business Association has condemned as ‘damaging to the industry as a whole’.

NS Design business development manager Kenny Roy explains that the scheme will allow ‘existing or prospective clients looking for design advice or information on how to set up a blog or apply search engine optimisation to their website to forward their queries to us. We will pick them at random and work our way through them’.

Taking place on the 19 December, the day has been organised ‘in the spirit of fun, to spread some festive cheer’, says Roy.

But DBA president Nick Ramshaw says, ‘Free pitching is bad enough, but at least it means that someone has a small chance of winning a significant job. Designers have given their expertise for too little for too long.’

Roy defends NS Design’s position, saying that it will not do any ‘serious’ design work that day.

‘We won’t have time to do pro bono designs for everyone that calls in – the day is just about giving advice for free in the season of goodwill.’

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Comments
  • David Carter November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    DBA’s attitude seems very short sighted. Surely there are many potential clients out there who still don’t see the benefits of design, or of using professionals to deliver it. Anything that raises awareness is surely beneficial to all and likely to generate more business for design companies as a whole.

  • Kevin Quigley November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    What’s the big deal? Why are the DBA getting their knickers in a twist over this? One day at Christmas? Let’s be honest here shall we. Every design company does this – do we charge for every single minute of time we work on a job? No. This is just a promotional activity.

    If the DBA wants to take on real issues I suggest they look at how the HE sector is offering design services for free to SMEs across the UK and how the smaller design companies are losing out. Or how the UK business support network seems to ignore the small design companies in preference to the larger ones or those linked to universities. Those are issues worth getting concerned about for many designers.

  • Christian Stanley, Crumpled Dog Design November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Got the desired publicity didn’t it…

  • Denise Turner November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    The DBA has to wake up, get off its pedestal and realise that there is a credit crunch on. This is a top way of the agency in question of getting highly cost-effective profile raising coverage for itself; and of hopefully winning some business for itself.

  • Tony Dunworth November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Come on. What are we all scared of here? Giving advice for free?

    This is clearly a promotional exercise aimed at drumming up new business. Nothing more sinister than that.

    I think this is an over reaction on the part of the DBA. NS Design are obviously offering their time to talk and discuss creative ideas, something we all have to do in order to drum up new business.

    Embracing these type of questions can only be a positive thing in building constructive and creative relationships with clients, something that most tendering processes are making virtually impossible.

    Our doors are always open to offer our advice. Who knows. We might get a job out of it?

  • malcolm November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I think the free day is a great idea.
    For NSDesign it will perhaps draw more clients in, and for those that haven’t use a consultant it might just get them stared.

    Design Business Association should be ashamed of this criticism. I carried out a day of free design work on a health related job last year and it lead to several thousand pounds worth of work. I see it as a good practice if the company can spare the time.

    Sometimes innovation and kindness is rewarded. 🙂

    Kind Regards
    Malcolm Lindsay
    Mozie Ltd

  • malcolm November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I think the free day is a great idea.
    For NSDesign it will perhaps draw more clients in, and for those that haven’t used a consultant it might just get them started.

    Design Business Association should be ashamed of this criticism. I carried out a day of free design work on a health related job last year and it lead to several thousand pounds worth of work. I see it as a good practice if the company can spare the time.

    Sometimes innovation and kindness is rewarded. 🙂

    Kind Regards
    Malcolm Lindsay
    Mozie Ltd

  • Ellora November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Do you see Lawyers, Doctors giving their services away for free to promote their talent? No and that is because they don’t need to justify their skill and value. We must not undervalue the service the design industry can offer with free service days, when will we realise that all the hard work to grow recognition around our business through intelligent research and reasoning is put to waste when someone turns round and offers it for free.

  • Rakesh Davda November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    consultants have to give away time and free advice all the time – all to get in more work!
    its a great move from nsdesign as small businesses need good free advice to get them moving in the right direction. from my experience, those that give a little away at the start are always remembered when the time comes to spend. great idea and great publicity for the day.

  • iamduncan.com November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Anyone else think it’d be interesting if they measured how much new business they get as a result of the DBA’s outrage, and this write up?

  • Duncan Macdonald November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Personally, I think it’d be interesting to see how much new business they get as a result of this write up, and all the noise made by the DBA.

  • D. Rimron November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    I think this is a great idea – when I was starting freelance I tried something similar and fell flat on my backside due to lack of exposure of the project.

    I hope NSDesign appreciates the “headsup” DBA (and DW) are giving them. No press is bad press, etc. 🙂 DBA, as much as they may be moaning like an old woman, are helping out here.

    Best of luck also to NSDesign — This sounds like the kind of thing I, personally, would like to (a) do more often and (b) see more people doing…. Business Networking and general “get yourself out there” – both great things.

    In short, Go NSD, Shut Up DBA 🙂

    -Dx

  • Andrew Cairns November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Free pitching can’t be avoided as no experienced company will contract a firm before knowing what they plan for their site.

    Stating that this is ‘damaging to the industry as a whole’ is a slight exaggeration as implying that the industry is weak enough to suffer from 1 day’s free consulting.

    However, with the DBA addressing this issue has given NSDesign with exactly what they wanted – a little bit of controversy to boost their marketing.

    Very smart idea, and I hope it works for them!

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