Poster by Chad Behnke

Although not a member of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, Luckham Creative does subscribe to the Code of Ethics and Professional Practices established by the GDC. This includes their recommendation to not participate in unfair business practices such as design contests, speculative or free work.

This kind of work hurts designers, clients and the business of graphic design!

Back in 2006, a group of Graphic Designers got together to create the NO!SPEC initiative. This group and its supporters are trying to educate both the creative and business communities about speculative work and contests and how it can hurt not only designers but the clients themselves. The NO!SPEC web site can be found at

“An idea that is developed and put into action
is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” ~ Buddha

Luckham Creative is in the business of coming up with ideas and putting them into action. Clients come to us needing a logo, stationery or a brochure or  web site, but when it comes down to it, they are coming to us for ideas. Sure, we provide graphic design skills and technical expertise, but ideas is where it all begins. Now, when a client comes to us and asks us to come up with a few ideas for a new logo, or a new web site and if they see anything they like they’ll pay for it, well… that’s asking us to do what we do for free! If an idea were a tangible product, and the client didn’t like it, we could turn around and sell it to someone else. But, ideas don’t come out of a drawer, we don’t have a bunch on the shelf or on backorder, if it were that easy the truly creative people wouldn’t even be in this business. An idea is something that is born from the investment of time and hard work, it’s through research, input from the client, a great deal of creative thinking and experimenting with different ideas, that one idea comes to full fruition. Ideas are also a result of years of education and experience. Doing design work ‘on spec’, as a proposal, or as part of a contest, is asking a great deal of a business that survives on doing design work!

Luckham Creative has been in the business of coming up with ideas for over 25 years. Design is subjective, it can be difficult to satisfy all clients all the time, but by establishing a professional relationship with a client we are better equipped to do so.

The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada has this to say about speculative work:

The practice of asking for free design concepts in order to choose the ‘right designer’ or the ‘best design’ or the ‘best logo’ undermines and devalues the professional designer’s education, experience, hard work and the entire design industry. GDC Members do not engage in contests or other speculative, commercial projects.

And here’s what the American Institute of Graphic Arts has to say about speculative work in their code of ethics:

A professional designer does not undertake speculative work or proposals (spec work) in which a client requests work without compensation and without developing a professional relationship that permits the designer sufficient access to the client to provide a responsible recommendation and without compensation.

Luckham Creative follows, and encourages others to follow, professional standards of practice.

All that said, Luckham Creative does understand the budget limitations of non-profit groups or businesses in the early stages of development. In response to that we are more than happy to negotiate a suitable discount for non-profit groups or value exchange for work. Please call for additional information.