Tag Archives: Graphic Artists Guild

Sign the Freelance Isn’t Free Petition!

31 Aug

Legislation has been introduced to the New York City Council that would make it easier for independent contractors to collect from deadbeat clients. The Freelance Isn’t Free Act, (NYC Council Bill 1017-A) was introduced by Councilmember Brad Lander,  who represents Brooklyn’s 39th District. This first of its kind legislation is endorsed by The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP), Freshbooks, The Graphic Artists Guild, and others, and it would protect independent workers against nonpayment and late payment. It’s poised to pass, but Freelancers Union needs one final push to hold deadbeat clients accountable for bad business practices in the City of New York. Sign the petition and join Freelancers Union in a Labor Day Thunderclap campaign to let the world know that #FreelanceIsntFree!



An Olympic Mistake: Tokyo Crowdsources Logo for 2020 Games

30 Nov


If you follow this blog, you know my opinions on crowdsourcing and speculative work, which I share with AIGA and the Graphic Artists Guild. Candid Thoughts on the 2020 Olympic Logo is a critique by Ian Lynam, Art Director of Neojaponisme, of a version of the 2020 Olympic Logo. In one part, he lays out a strong case against contests and spec work.

The post is worth reading in its entirety, but here’s the takeaway:

Why can’t the Tokyo Olympic committee afford to pay someone for something that is going to make them a lot of money whether Tokyo wins the bid or not?

Mr. Lynam also shares his thoughts on competitions:

I hate design competitions, and moreover, I hate student design competitions. Sure, it may help that student get a job after school, but design competitions are a form of speculative labor. We don’t participate in design competitions with my design studio, and I actively encourage my students to not participate in design competitions, as well. School should be a time for exploration and experimenting in the laboratory, not aping market rules, visual trends, and reductive thinking.

Mr. Lynam’s criticism of the logo, which was done by a college student, lays out strong arguments for why a professional designer’s expertise is worth the investment, and his comments on the competition provide a good explanation of why designers—and clients—should avoid crowdsourced spec work.

Pratt Sets a Terrible Example by Crowdsourcing New Mascot Design

1 Jun

I am a proud graduate of Pratt Institute (ComD/Graphic Design, ’92), where I received a solid education from some of the world’s top creative professionals. But, I could not be more disappointed that my alma matter is using a competition to crowdsource the design of a new Athletics Brand Identity for the Institute. It’s shameful that Pratt is engaging in this practice, which is harmful and damaging to designers.


My letter to President Schutte and Vice President for Student Affairs Matusow-Ayres. (Click the image to enlarge and read it.)

It is unacceptable that one of the top design schools in the world is asking hundreds of students, faculty, alumni, and staff to work for free, with the promise that one of them will receive only a fraction of the fair market value of their work. As a member of AIGA, Freelancers Union, and the Graphic Artist’s Guild, as well as a freelance designer, I know firsthand how unfair crowdsourcing is to designers, and how harmful it is to the industry and economy. In fact, the AIGA Position on Spec Work, and the Graphic Artists Guild Code of Fair Practice for the Graphic Communications Industry state each group’s specific opposition to it.

I’ve written to President Thomas F. Schutte, and to Vice President for Student Affairs Helen Matusow-Ayres, asking them to cancel the contest, and conduct the project ethically and fairly. If you would like to join me in expressing your disappointment, you can email them, and tweet to @PrattInstitute and @GoPrattGo. Pratt should be setting a much better example for its community, especially its students.

Correction: An earlier version of this post omitted the Twitter handle for Pratt Athletics, @GoPrattGo. It has been added.—JC

No Soap, SOPA: Solidarity Sends Washington a Powerful Message

1 Feb

Wikepedia goes dark in protest of SOPA

The battle to stop SOPA proved that people working together using a free and open internet is a powerful weapon for creating change.

Legislation in the House of RepresentativesH.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), is, “a bill to promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and in- novation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” The Senate version, S. 968, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), is, “to prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes.”

While protecting intellectual property is a major concern of creative pros, many of us felt that SOPA would do more harm than good, by limiting free speech and giving big business even more power, which would harm our ability to make a living in this tough economy. In fact,  The Graphic Artists Guild, of which I’m a member, withdrew its support of the bill in December, and issued this statement.

With SOPA up for a vote on January 18, internet users turned the very platform SOPA would limit to launch a massive and powerful protest. Thousands of sites—including my own—went dark, replacing their home pages with a protest one. Tweets with #Blackout SOPA were trending. Google blacked out its logo, Wikipedia went dark,  and Jeff Bezos blogged about Facebook’s opposition to the legislation.

Tweet during SOPA Blackout, January 18, 2012.

Washington had no choice but to pay attention, and by the afternoon, two Senators withdrew their support for the bill. Others followed, and by the end of the week, it was announced that SOPA, at least in its current form, was dead.

This type of legislation is sure to come back, and when it does, it will hopefully be much smarter and balanced. My representative, Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY), agrees in her response, dated February 1, 2012, to my message asking her to vote against PIPA:

Thank you for writing to me regarding S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act of 2011. I understand the concerns that have been raised over the original approach towards solving the problem online piracy poses to our overall economy and New York jobs. All New Yorkers should be able to agree on the shared goals of cracking down on the illegal piracy of copyrighted material without any unintended consequences of stifling the internet or online innovation.

After working hard with my colleagues to make important changes and improve the Protect IP legislation, it became clear that a consensus on a balanced approach to achieve these shared goals could not be reached. I believe it is time for Congress to take a step back and start over with both sides bringing their solutions to the table to find common ground towards solving this problem.”

For more thoughts on the future of SOPA, here’s a piece from the Huffington Post, by entertainment attorney Ivan J. Parron.

The important lesson to be learned from this is that there is power in each of us, and when we combine it and stand together as one, real change is possible. Fighting SOPA in the digital arena helped bring that change fast, but only because we had—and used—an internet that allowed us to use our guaranteed right of free speech.

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