Should you design for free?

Ok ... I will finally address this bullshit going viral.
Every craft has its issues, strategies, route-to-market; and over the years I've come to realize that you cannot replicate one industry perspective for the other.

How do you think younger designers broke into the scene when trust for quality design services were at an all time low?
Those were the days celebrities and upcoming artists and managers gave us promises of "publicity" if we designed for free or earning peanuts as freelancers in agencies. Of course a lot of us jumped for it cause publicity also equated into currency for a designer back then.
Cut long story short, successful designers today placed industry heirachy, publicity and recognition over money.

I have come to notice, that designers posting and sharing these images of "say no to free design" are new entrants into the scene with barely 2 - 3 years as professional designers. Maybe have made a few thousands here and there and thinking "life is set, ready and go" ... Dude! Shut up and sit down.
You still have to pay them dues!

Let's break this down.
A designer with 5 - 7 years professional experience should not be broke or less busy enough to even bother posting this!

How many of you would swear you have invested up to 300k in your craft. Did you pay 100k per annum on your softwares? do you buy fonts? do you pay for books? Do you attend conferences and pay for them? What design school charges 300k?
And the truth is, when you actually bag these experience, it becomes industry standard to design for free in the guise of a 'pitch' after you have spent millions in PCs and sleepless weeks.

The bottom line is, I'm not saying you shouldn't get paid, but money should not be a defining factor in your career. Find other goals like being exceptional or being faster or delivering more creative work, not money.
Cause you want to know the truth? The money will come when the money will come.
And it comes mostly from referral of great works you've done before not the amount of money you were paid.

Contributor: Daniel Emeka is a Graphic Designer / Art Director and The Boss at Surkreo . He loves putting words across when it comes to design. And, bet me, you can never go wrong reading his write-ups. For more details you can get in touch with him on Facebook

Felix Obinna

Creative Visual + UI Designer • Awesome Dude. Curator/Writer at cgminds .