The 7 stages of being asked to work for free

Whether you’re just starting out as a freelance illustrator or graphic designer or you’ve been doing it for decades, one thing never changes – someone always wants you to work for free. The email lands in your inbox innocently enough; you read through the project and it sounds fun and then you see that word. The one word that immediatelys ruins everything. Exposure.

Nothing you do as a designer is free. Your time and creative talent is precious and these pesky so-called clients should know better. You pay with your time, your experience, the money you spent on university, college or training, the bills you pay to keep your office running or your heating on at home, your tools and subscriptions. This design lark can get expensive, so when someone tells you that working for free would be good for you, it can be difficult not to throw your computer out the window.

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Sammy Maine

Sammy Maine was a founding member of the Creative Bloq team way back in the early 2010s, working as a Commissioning Editor. Her interests cover graphic design in music and film, illustration and animation. Since departing, Sammy has written for The Guardian, VICE, The Independent & Metro, and currently co-edits the quarterly music journal Gold Flake Paint.