Should you work for free?

Last September, notepad maker Moleskine decided to hold a design competition. The idea was to get hundreds, or even thousands of its customers – many of whom are designers or creatives – to come up with a design for its Moleskinerie blog in return for the chance to scoop a €5,000 prize (approximately £4,280). In doing so, the company might as well as have thrown a grenade on a bonfire.

The problem? Moleskine – unwittingly or not – fanned the flames of a strong feeling that many designers have about spec work: that it’s used to source a huge array of creative work and ideas on the cheap, while also seriously undermining and devaluing the talent, dedication and professionalism of the designers and agencies that take part.

By running a competition to source a design, many took Moleskine to effectively be saying that it doesn’t value the work of creative pros. The competition, as originally envisaged, assumed copyright over all the submitted entries, whether they went on to win the top prize or not. Moleskine was, in effect, asking its best customers to work for free.


Moleskine’s decision to crowdsource the logo design for its blog could be one of the worst PR decisions ever made by the company. Its initial reaction to criticism from customers only made matters worse

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The Creative Bloq team is made up of a group of design fans, and has changed and evolved since Creative Bloq began back in 2012. The current website team consists of eight full-time members of staff: Editor Georgia Coggan, Deputy Editor Rosie Hilder, Ecommerce Editor Beren Neale, Senior News Editor Daniel Piper, Editor, Digital Art and 3D Ian Dean, Tech Reviews Editor Erlingur Einarsson and Ecommerce Writer Beth Nicholls and Staff Writer Natalie Fear, as well as a roster of freelancers from around the world. The 3D World and ImagineFX magazine teams also pitch in, ensuring that content from 3D World and ImagineFX is represented on Creative Bloq.