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Our Edmonton office has been located in the Melton Building since 1993.

Our View on Free Work and Design Competitions

2014 Alberta License Plate

Free Work and Design Competitions

We took a calculated risk creating an alternate design that we posted on social media last week. We knew if we did nothing, by Spring 2015, we'd all have new license plates we didn't like.

Our goals were to:

  1. 1. Show that Albertan designers could design a superior license plate
  2. 2. Create discussion about how the Alberta license plate branding project should have involved our professional design community.

At Graphos, we are grateful beyond words for the support and comments that we've received from Albertans and people across Canada.

Thanks to media coverage, Albertans were given more options to chose from and it's pretty clear to us from these results (Our design was option #3) that Albertans aren't in full support of the choices we've been given to vote on by August 19, 2014.

We've been told that if there is enough public feedback, Service Alberta will reconsider it's design selection strategy. So please continue to send your opinions to newplate@gov.ab.ca.

What about a design competition?

We strongly feel that doing work for free, otherwise known as spec work, and design competitions (unless they are for kids) is a mistake. Creative professionals deserve to always be fairly compensated for their work and a high-profile assignment should be awarded with an in-depth creative brief presented to the most highly qualified design professionals.

We stand 100% behind the GDC's views on spec work, as we have for 22 years. It's important to understand that we have not surrendered our intellectual property rights on our proposed design. In this situation, we had a statement to make, and felt it could only be effectively delivered through good design. We have shown our protest design around, but it's still ours.

Will we enter the Wildrose Party's design contest?

No. We will not enter Wildrose Party's contest because we do not wish our design to become part of a political party's own submission. Crowdsourcing is not an appropriate strategy for a professional branding exercise.

Our advice to young designers and other professionals

As a professional firm since 1993, we know we play a role in providing leadership for our colleagues. We ask you NOT to enter any spec-based contest and NOT to give your work away for less than it's worth.

Let's work together to support graphic design as a respected profession.



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Edmonton AB T5J 2W4
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