Last week Jae of DAY6 put out a tweet asking if any fans had time to create him a logo and banner for his personal project channel. Fans immediately expressed their excitement and suggested it be made a competition. So, this is what he made it.
Today, Jae has been checking his submissions to find someone called him out on this.
Hey guys, been going through submissions and found this email. Wasn't aware that this was an issue and want opinions on if this competition was unethical towards the professionals in the field. If it was I apologize for my ignorance and will cancel this event immediately. pic.twitter.com/390XBJCI5Y
— Day6 Jae (@Jae_Day6) July 10, 2020
As a professional Graphic Designer, this immediately caught my attention. I’d seen the original post, and had thought ‘of course, another person who can afford a designer asking people to work for nothing’. Though I thought about it for a moment and changed my mind, this wasn’t what he was doing.
I didn’t submit anything for Jae’s competition, in part because I do not have the time to take on additional work – and also, there was no brief here. It is this that really sets this apart from someone seeking to ‘exploit’ artists and just from someone briefing for speculative work.
Jae wasn’t asking professional designers to work for him for free, low compensation, or exposure. Initially, Jae simply asked if his fanbase included a designer or artist (though not necessarily a professional) that may want to work with him. It was fans excitement that encouraged the change to competition and many fans to then spend their time (some of whom may be professional, whose time would usually cost) knowing they may not win and may not receive any compensation for their time.
I cannot say it loudly enough:
DO NOT ASK ARTISTS TO WORK FOR FREE, FOR LESS THAN THEIR QUOTED PRICE, FOR ‘MATES RATES’, FOR EXPOSURE, ETC
But Jae didn’t do this. Yes, it does appear he doesn’t really understand the importance of a professionally designed logo – but trust me, many clients don’t! Nor does he know how to brief a designer – again, many clients don’t! Jae is an artist trying to put together a side project on his own, he happened not to know the etiquette, likely because he’s not searched out artwork on his own before.
His final choice may be by a professional, it may be by an artistic fan with a non-artistic day job, it may leave professionals looking at it thinking ‘that could have been better’ – but honestly, there’s plenty of design for Kpop by professionals that leave us thinking that.
A fair few years ago, a notable Korean hip hop label asked fans to design album art for a collaboration between two or three of their artists. There were minimal details on what they wanted. The terms of the competition said they owned rights to all submissions and could use them for any purpose. There was no indication of compensation or credit. They did not use any of the submission, claiming that the standard was not high enough – despite professionals sending artwork. This was a company who could afford a designer, exploiting artists.
While I’ve been writing this, Jae has done his research and responded very professionally.
3. All working rights and usage rights will be returned to all submitted designs.
if any other professionals have any other opinions on this please let me know!
— Day6 Jae (@Jae_Day6) July 10, 2020
This willingness to learn and grow is extremely valuable in a public figure – we’re seeing celebrities get challenged on a daily basis and some of them are unwilling to hear opinions (eg She Who Must Not Be Named). However, Jae continues to prove he values his fanbase and their opinions.
Let’s hope there is a logo sat in his inbox that he falls in love with, allows a fan (professional or not) to feel proud and earn a paycheck, and that everyone who entered feels their time wasn’t wasted because they spent time doing something they chose to out of love for music and an idol.
PS. DO NOT ASK ARTISTS TO WORK FOR FREE, FOR LESS THAN THEIR QUOTED PRICE, FOR ‘MATES RATES’, FOR EXPOSURE, ETC