Free pitching – or supplying design services without a fee - has both positive and negative impacts on the design community. The idea of holding a competition to find the best design for a particular product/company at first seems an awesome idea but after further investigation I see it as a bride wielding a double edged sword.
By entering a competition – such as the type held on website www.99designs.com you subject yourself to x amount of hours working on a project with absolutely no guarantee you will win and get paid. You don’t know what the skill levels of your competitors are and as such would be hard to judge the amount of time and effort to inject. You could even be (un)lucky enough come head to head with competition ‘super designer’ Richard Scott who loves the thrill of entering and winning competitions. In an interview for Desktop Magazine (#240) he muses, “After I won a few contests early on, I realised there was some money to be made – possibly enough to base a business on”. Although this sounds easy enough it is a very idealistic view and to me isn’t the most realistic option for many a young fledgling designer.
I do believe that if these competitions become commonplace for the industry they could unintentionally and inevitably lower the quality of work and bring down the standard rate of fees that designers can charge. Having said that, I’m still drawn to these competitions and will most likely have a dig at one sooner rather than later.