On February 1st, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) asked designers submit logo design proposals for its Art Works initiative.
The request was a speculative one, prompting Richard Grefé, executive director of AIGA — the largest and oldest professional communication design association in the United States — to respond by addressing a letter to NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman.
I’ve picked out a few excerpts from Grefé’s letter (shown below), and the full response is linked to at the foot of the post.
AIGA’s response to the NEA’s call for logos
“This type of competition runs against the global professional standards and practices for graphic design [...] it is both unfortunate and inappropriate that the NEA would be pursuing this practice.
“The approach you are pursuing is one that seriously compromises the quality of work you are entitled to and also violates a tacit ethical standard that has long standing in the communication design professions worldwide.
“Speculative design competitions or processes result in a superficial assessment of the problem and can only result in a design that is judged on a superficial basis. [Such competitions] will not result in the kind of work a client deserves.
“Only too often, [spec work] results in a client eventually having to bring a more experienced designer onto a project in order to execute it.”
Also worth reading: AIGA President Debbie Millman’s strong view against spec work.
Post image: 1968 AIGA Annual cover, by Paul Rand.