Design association calls Huffington Post contest unethical for seeking free logos

Huffington Post

The executive director of professional design association AIGA, which has more than 20,000 members, says the Huffington Post's contest for a new politics logo is unethical.

Ric Grefe writes:

The creative profession­als that read the [Huffington] Post expect more from you.

This practice violates a tacit, long-stand­ing ethical standard in the communicat­ion design profession worldwide. ...

Requesting work for free demonstrates a lack of respect for the designer and the design process as well as the time of the profession­als who are asked to provide it. This approach, therefore, reflects on the integrity, practices and standards of the Huffington Post and AOL.

Comments on the contest story are overwhelmingly negative, like this one from Jody Shyllberg:

Really?? Asking for design work with the payment­tting credit for doing the work?! Does everyone at AOL work for kudos for a job well done in lieu of a salary?

Some journalists have raised questions about whether AOL's and Huffington Post's history of free labor makes this sort of "crowd-sourcing" problematic.

Spokesperson Mario Ruiz told me by email the contest "was in no way an attempt to solicit unpaid design services." Ruiz also said:

We asked fans of HuffPost Politics to submit suggestions for social media icon designs as a fun way of enabling them to express their passion for politics -- and for HuffPost. As readers of our site know, we frequently engage our community with requests for feedback and suggestions. So while AOL Huffington Post Media Group employs an in-house team of more than 30 talented designers, we felt this would be a lighthearted way to encourage HuffPost Politics users to express another side of their talents.

Thanks to Mallary Tenore for the tip.


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