Icograda supports United States designers' campaign for fair compensation and equitable procurement practices

14 June 2011
As an international organisation, Icograda has championed the value of design and best practices for the procurement of design services for almost 50 years.
As an international organisation, Icograda has championed the value of design and best practices for the procurement of design services for almost 50 years. This month, the United States Department of the Interior has contracted the crowdsourcing design website, crowdSPRING.com, to solicit proposals for a new logo representing the federal department of more than 70 000 employees. The budget for this exercise is USD $1500 ($1000 to the selected entry and $250 each for the second and third options).

The Graphic Artist's Guild, an Icograda Professional Member, has objected to the Department's process for procuring design services.  The Guild's professional fee guidelines for a project of this scope are USD $20 000 - $50 000 for design services and buyout of associated rights. The Guild's objections are consistent with Icograda's international best practice on procurement, which defines speculative practices as, "communication design work (including documented consultation), created by professional communication designers and organisations, provided for free or at nominal fee, often in competition with peers and often as a means to solicit new business." Icograda, representing the interests of communication designers from 200 member organisations in more than 67 countries and regions internationally, recommends that designers not undertake any work at the invitation of a client without payment of an appropriate fee.

A spokesperson for the Department of the Interior has acknowledged that the competition was influenced by budget constraints in the current economic climate. "We are in an incredibly tight budget situation that – to be honest – is only going to get worse," said Tim Fullerton, the Department's New Media Director. "If we didn't do it this way, this project never would've happened."

The Guild is encouraging supporters to sign a petition against the Department's contest. As an alternative, the Guild has recommended that an appropriate approach to a new logo design would be to produce and announce a Request for Proposals (RFP) in which designers are asked to submit a limited number of samples of previous work for the Department to review. This recommendation is aligned with Icograda's best practice supported by our members internationally. 

We applaud the Guild for pursuing fair compensation and equitable procurement practises on behalf of American designers.



Russell Kennedy,
Icograda President 2009-2011