Luminant Design actively avoids ANY engagement in speculative work ("spec work").
Speculative work involves services performed with an uncertain prospect of compensation. Such work typically falls outside the agreement framework normally established between a design firm and client as part of a legal contract on a project. Instances of speculative work can be found as special conditions within Requests For Proposals (RFPs) and in crowdsourcing or other competitions. Such conditions include requests for "free work", "sample designs" or other unpaid services.
Speculative work should not be confused with an RFP response, in which the submitter provides a written explanation as to how he/she would perform work in order to fulfill a client contract. Such responses are accompanied with examples of other, past work performed by the submitter for client reference and evaluation. RFP responses do not include concept ideas specific to the project detailed in the proposal.
Speculative work negatively impacts both quality and legal rights. Good design is a thoughtful process with the full engagement of both design firm and client towards a specific goal. Speculative work is often rushed, poorly informed and lacks the dialogue required to effectively define and respond to needs and objectives. The terms of agreement involved in speculative work are often legally gray in nature, and therefore create undue legal liability to both the design firm and client.
It is also important to note that Design firms operate with a relatively low profit margin compared to many other professional services. Speculative work creates serious economic challenges.
Luminant Design does on rare occasion engage in pro bono work without compensation where the nature, objectives and profile of the work aligns with our interests and clearly significantly benefits the general public. Pro bono work is typically identified and volunteered by Luminant Design and always small in scale.