Web design and the free work pitch

Doing free web design work for a pitch is a very hot topic in the web design world and something I feel quite strongly about.

I was recently part of a pitching process for some UI/UX work and got down to the final two. Early on in the process I was asked if I would be prepared to show some initial ideas as part of the pitch but I declined. Why? Because I don’t feel that any work carried out for free is good work and the knowledge of whats needed or the business goals or brand at that stage will be minimal. Spending a day doing work for nothing and then losing the pitch is not a good situation to be in for any small studio where every day of paid work counts. Now I understand why companies ask for it and I understand why some web design studios do it but I still don’t believe it’s the right way to decide on a prospective working partner.

Web design takes time, knowledge and effort

It’s very hard trying to compete on a level playing field when you’re a small web design studio so being in a pitching process where the other company is prepared to do free work can make things very difficult. Do you stick to your principles and risk loosing a pitch because you weren’t prepared to work for free or do you go ahead and try and compete with the other studio and do some free work as well? I’m disappointed I didn’t get the job but I am pleased I stuck to my principles. I still don’t agree with free work in web design pitches and being on the wrong end of it doesn’t make me like it any more. Maybe when times are hard we have to try harder and do as the others do? Or, stick to what we believe in and move on to the next pitch…

Paul Ledbrook

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