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Why does creative work cost money? | Article


A few weeks ago I was approached by a client who asked me to participate in a pitch…

“This is a lifestyle focused range and aimed at all women… Think active wear, modern, cool, impactful, fun, graphic, inspiring. The designs must resonates with the brand. Please don’t use components that are not originally your own work.

I’ve been advised that we can only pay designers who’s individual works get chosen to go to print. The designs will then belong to us forever to do with as they will”

My first reaction was to ignore the message completely, but a week later the client followed up asking if I had a chance to look at their email. Then, I decided to respond using Jessica Hische‘s words.

Jessica and I encourage you to use the template below next time someone asks you to work/pitch for free.


Hi ________,

Thanks for reaching out, but I don’t participate in free pitches and campaigns as I (and many creatives) feel that they take advantage of artists’ time and lower the standard for creative compensation across the board. I am not a hobbyist lettering artist, and ________ is not a non-profit—they can afford to compensate artists for any work they perform, and it is wrong to ask artists to create work for a for-profit company for free even if that work goes unused.
As I’m sure you know, independent artists are not agencies—we don’t pitch for free because winning a pitch, for us, translates to (hopefully) fair compensation for work performed, not a multi-million dollar, multi-year commitment house account as it does for agencies.

 Any time you have a project you think I might be a good fit for, and there is compensation for early round work, please reach out to my rep (cc’ed here).

All the best,


I never heard back from them.

Why does creative work cost money?
Go try to make it and find out.