A failure to acknowledge work as work
I hope one day design will be treated like any other professional service. We need to first get a consensus among agencies and designers not to work for free even in pitch situations before anything will change. The work we do needs to be respected and working for free is not the way to get that respect. Just try to take your car to an auto mechanic and tell him to repair your car this time for free because the next time you promise to pay a fair price. As soon as you put this situation into another non creative field most people can see the ridiculousness of it. Any design firm doing spec work should be punished or put onto a black list. Time for design associations and governments to put more effort into this matter. What the industry needs is a moral code that stands above business. All this spec work kills good work, scares away real talent and further damages the future of design. None of this is the clients faults, but it is purely our industry’s problem of getting a short term advantage. And the web has been becoming the largest catalyst in pushing free work ahead and above paid work. In contrast, there is nothing wrong about checking a mediocre applicant’s real skill with a test task. Nowadays, so many young designers learn to visually polish their turds in a quality that it looks and sounds almost like a 10 manpower team effort. Mostly, a lot of their showcases are just surface styling work and that is what a test project is for. Discovering designers who have talent to truly design something, and not just do some styling.