Andrew’s entry for a This American Life T-shirt design contest in 2008 (or 2009 maybe?)
Stuff referenced in this week’s episode:
Out of Print (old book cover design clothing and accessories).
Darren Wall’s The Lord of the Flies cover design for the Faber Firsts series.
AIGA Position on Spec Work
Penguin’s Crowdsource Book Cover
Polish Book Cover Contest hosted by 50watts.com (formerly known as Journey Round My Skull)
This American Life T-shirt design
In preparing for this discussion Andrew went off on a bit of a rant. Here’s a snippet of his email sent to Ian talking about how modern internet culture devalues creative work of all kinds:
I’m talking more than just the design world. I observe a growing public attitude that the internet can provide free (or nearly free) photographs, writing, design, advertising, games, etc. Instead of paying writers and photographers, Huffington Post, Williams Sonoma, and Martha Stewart get people to contribute articles and photographs in exchange for “exposure”. Instead of paying for an ad on a popular cooking website, companies email a press release for their new product—the idea being that the blog should post it as “free content.” Instead of doing his own work, a college student copies free term papers off a website. Instead of hiring a graphic designer, a local bagel shop asks a crowdsource site to direct 99 designers to work on his project. He doesn’t like the result, and pays no one. Instead of buying the new Playstation game, somebody downloads a pirated copy.
Those who once paid for creative services now expect these services for free. There have always been people willing to do free work for professional exposure, but the internet gathers them all together, crowding out properly paid professionals. Business have always wanted to keep costs low, but the internet makes it easy to acquire free creative output. More people take part in this, and the number of people who think it’s all ok grows. It’s a mass psychology thing. This growth creates a devalued perception of all professional creatives—those who participate in spec work and even those who don’t.