Serious Studio is holding a logo design competition to punch up against this business practice
BY Ivan Jethro Balagtas
November 29, 2023

Logo competitions are some of the more common industry malpractices being propagated by corporations, government agencies, and independent businesses. This practice has brought in an unfair setup where the client has plenty to gain while designers and creatives are in a zero-sum game. Adding to this, spec work (or speculative work) is an illegal practice where a prospective client asks the designer for “sample” creative works. This form of unpaid labor is harmful to the livelihood of designers and the design industry as a whole.

These improper practices are the subject of Serious Studio’s Spectacular Spec Work. In tune with the Halloween season, the studio came in costume as they deride said missteps.  

Established in 2012, branding and design agency Serious Studio has worked with concepts and brands all over the Philippines and around the world. The long years in the industry afforded the studio the opportunity to experience firsthand the highs and lows of the design business, an industry that has its fair share of bad business practices and bad designs. And Serious has always made its stance clear on the industry’s state of affairs in a direct and diverting manner since the beginning of the studio’s operations. Spectacular Spec Work holds the same sentiment. This competition was envisioned for the studio and the design community to collectively punch up against this malpractice. 

Upon elaborating sentiments about bad design, the studio describes bad logos, or no-gos, as .”..usually the product of a badly planned timeline, trust issues, a systemically vicious cycle, and/or a micromanaging board of directors.” 

Looking at the bigger picture, the studio utilized their platform to raise an important point of discussion pertaining to logo competitions and speculative work. While these practices are far from being gone, there are steps creatives, designers, and industry figures could do in minimizing these malpractices. “Together, we can stop no-gos by screening for these common project missteps and addressing these before going into one. Always know and understand what you’re getting into before you fall into a no-go hole.”

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