Friday, September 11, 2009

Whore Aftermath

I went from writing absolutely nothing for a few months, to not stopping for 3 days. Updating the events from the first blog post, writing email replies to many, and speaking with a few design organizations and industry websites that have followed up.

To everyone that submitted comments and praise in regards to the article and the info it contained, I thank you.

This was never about me. I was merely pointing out facts. And after speaking to the RGD (who have really been amazing in regards to all of this), this isn’t about them either. They seem as genuinely concerned as we are, are investigating, and I for one commend them greatly for it.

This was about the state of our industry. This is about the freelance website that doesn’t care about standards or guidelines. They only care if they get a piece of the action. No matter how low it may sink.

This is about the employer in Toronto that believes $2.00/hour is fair pricing for what we do.

And most of all, this is about ALL of us putting our foot down.

Somebody said that we should form a union and I should be the Jimmy Hoffa of this industry (minus the unhappy ending to that story). And truth, if I knew I could change things for the better I would seriously consider it. But we all know this is not possible.

I could write a blog post (keeping names out of it). I could bring the situation to your attention and hope you get something from it. That was about it.

All of this has to do with you.

I have turned down many jobs this year (and lost several others) because I have stuck to my guns. I will continue to stick to my guns. I’m not interested in competing with those that feel that $2/hour is acceptable.
I poured a lot of sweat into getting to this point in my career and I’ll be damned if anybody is going to have me cheapen that. Make some concessions because it’s a rough economy? Sure. No problem. You need a logo, website, corporate materials and a direct mail postcard? I’ll throw in the postcard design for free. The rest will cost what I believe it is worth.

Why? Because if I’m not getting paid what it is worth, I’d sooner do something else.

So now what do we do?

Do we sign a petition stating that none of us will work below minimum wage?
Do we all agree on a standard pricing guidelines? The Graphic Artist’s Guild of America has a book like that.
Many don’t follow it.

As we discovered this week, even the organizations have their work cut out for them to regulate what their members are up to.

It’s entirely up to you as a professional creative.

Do you want to keep giving away your work or not?

If there isn’t anyone willing to do this cheap work, we’d all be in great shape again.

I’ll be the first name.

I solemnly swear as a professional creative to not cheapen our industry by working for wages (or contributing to anything) that I feel, de-values us as a whole.

I swear to keep up the fight.

Ronnie Lebow.

1 comment:

Sigrid Albert said...

As a former exec on the BC Chapter of the GDC (Graphic Designers of Canada) I think Canadian pricing guidelines à la Graphic Artists Guild are a great idea.

We have the salary survey by Aquent, but I don't think we have any pricing guidelines for typical projects, not even a range.

I've had quite a few young designers and interns in my small office over the years, and I always tell them what I'm charging for projects. I show them proposals and try to give them an idea of what a typical hourly rate should be (at least what I strive for, not necessarily what I end up getting).

You can contact the national president of the GDC, Rod Roodendburg at president@gdc.net and mention this idea - if you haven't already. I realize I'm coming to this blog post rather late.