As long as there have been designers and artists, someone somewhere has been trying to get them to work for free for "the love" or "exposure".

Sometimes this is pure exploitation by some soulless individual at an agency or at the brand itself, sometimes it’s due to ignorance about the creative industries and sometimes it’s a bit of both – often due to exploitative intermediaries who try to put a superficial veneer of respectability on asking you to product a project to work for free (or a promise-to-nothing that you might win a prize or commission).

These demeaning projects take many forms. They can be disguised as competitions or pitches – though we’re not including what’s traditionally known as free pitching here, as that’s a separate issue. There can be the promise of ‘exposure’ as payment for your efforts. It can be framed as ‘pro bono’ work for a good cause (by an agency who’s getting paid by the charity involved). Or it can be offering you the ‘chance’ to ‘collaborate’ with a ‘cool brand’ (except it’s not a chance, it’s a job; it’s not a collaboration, it’s a commission; and truly cool brands don’t exploit creatives).

Image: iStock

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