Image From CreativeBloq.com article – See link below.
Editorial by Kerry Gonzáles:
Have you been asked to work for free to “get experience” or as part of an internship?
Don’t do it.
If an established organization or start-up is asking you to do work for free – and they will profit from it – Don’t do it.
We’ve seen some questionable “internships” offered that ask students to create work that would normally require payment. Student work is reviewed for the “most qualified” candidate. Reputable organizations recognize the value of student skills and will pay students while they are interning.
A true internship teaches a student something. If someone just wants you for your design/computer skills… beware! Your ability to create billable work should be compensated. And, just because an organization advertises “school credit” in lieu of payment for an internship, that does not always mean they have even contacted a school. Do your research. Talk to your program advisor!
Read about internships AIGA:
*What about non-profits? Well, you could look at these as your way of giving back to a charity/community by not charging for your work. However, we have alumni working at non-profits who say their organizations pay for work. I suggest looking at this on a case-by-case basis.
What about contests? This is a tough one. But if you look closely… is it a contest to design a logo or other promotional work? A logo is the most important visual for a company. Don’t you think a reputable company would/should want to pay for that?
Is this a contest to exhibit previously created work? That would probably fall under art show, gallery or exhibit exposure. Some require submission fees to offset the cost of producing the show.
Is the contest for your school, your church or your biking group? SLCC offers many poster contests. In the Visual Art & Design Department we promote a contest for the SLCC Student Art Showcase Poster Design. The winner is paid. And, any who submit are encouraged to enter the Art Showcase with their work. We do not charge for submissions.
There is another type of payment that students might use with other students… trade out. A graphic design student might trade work with a photo student. For the poor starving student (and we all were at one time) trade work just might be the answer. Just make sure those involved clearly understand all that is expected of each.
Keep in mind what working for free will not only do to you, but what it does to the industry as a whole. For the most part, professionals agree it lowers the public perception of what design should be worth. That affects everyone.
With all this in mind, please read this article:
Ask yourself, “Will someone make money from my skills?”
Then let your conscience be your guide. If someone asks for work and cannot or will not pay, let’s call it what it is… volunteer work!