Supermarket Wants a Designer to Work For Free

May 19, 2016

I feel the pain as do many designers. There are constant requests to do projects without pay. Along with the requests come all kinds of reasons (excuses?) why this particular job should be done for free. Of course artists will sometimes use their creativity for an awesome response.

A Sainsbury supermarket recently ran an ad in the Camden New Journal (Camden is a borough of London, England) where they were looking to find an artist to volunteer their skills. A copy of the ad is shown below.


We are not talking about a small business here, just one that will gladly take anyone (with or without experience) to work for free. What do designers often want? Free food! So designer Teri Anne Scoble responded with a nice tongue-in-cheek ad looking for a supermarket willing to volunteer their skills.


Great response and it definitely got a big chuckle out of me!

In that spirit, I created a graphic a while back explaining why I don’t work for free. Maybe you are the exception, but many readers request my help and it is rare that the desperate plea for help comes with payment.


If you would like my help, I am absolutely thrilled to help you. But first you need to Hire the Geek as I don’t work for free.

Post Discussion


  1. Jeff Harrison

    Enjoyable post! Always fun to see how people “sell” through words. In a similar vein, another common situation is clients asking for a great deal NOW, predicated on the idea that they’ll be bringing so much work to us in the future. Or that due to their influence, they have lots of friends that will be coming to me for business. I impart that we’ll look at a discount when a sales history has been established that warrants negotiation.

  2. Dave Chandler

    It’s usually euphemistically called an “internship” where you work for free and gain useful “experience” to possibly apply to a future, perhaps paying, job. Often that job never appears. It’s the bane of western Europe with thousands of formerly unpaid volunteers still having found no actual paid work. At one time it was called indentured labour or maybe even slavery.

  3. izzy

    A lesson I took to heart many years ago when first starting out. Along with getting a substantial deposit and insisting on timely payment, like ‘on delivery’ – unless it’s a well-established client I know I can trust. If you don’t value your time & talent, others won’t either. Conduct business as though you’re serious, and learn to recognize a scam. Ads like the example aren’t worth wasting any time on.


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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III built his first Web site in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013. He has used the Divi theme exclusively since 2015. Earlier in his career he was the author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences.

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