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Why You Should Not Expect Artists and Designers to Work for Free


Pursuing a career in the creative field is not as different as working in other professions. There are challenges, years of hard work learning and honing skills, and need for continual improvement if you want to be successful. And yet, one of the most common woes of many artists, designers, and people who work in the creative industry who are yet to build a name for themselves is being asked to work for free. Whether you are the artist or designer or someone thinking of hiring one for a project, here are some of the reasons why payment should be on the discussion table.

Time is money
Yes, art and design is not all about money. But artists’ and designers’ time as valuable as everyone else’s. Just because they love what they does not mean other people can expect them to spend hours working on a project without getting paid for it. Imagine asking an engineer to build a house or a surgeon to perform surgery for free.

Return of investment
Many artists and designers spent years studying their craft. They invested time, money, and resources in pursuit of their career. Getting compensation for the work they do is a return of investment.

The cost of creating art or design
A design or work of art does not magically appear out of nowhere. There is always a cost involved. From materials used to the cost of renting a working space, making art or design can be costly process.

Setting a precedent
Working for free sets a precedent that could affect other artists and designers. And it can be a disadvantage, especially for those who are still trying to build a career out of their passion. While there are many successful artists and designers out there who can probably afford to do a lot of work gratis, there are also those who are struggling to pay the rent and other day-to-day expenses. Working without expecting any compensation or for exposure creates a culture where struggling artists and designers would be expected to work for free.