I just read an interesting post by Zeldman about why not to design on spec or in other simpler words why not to submit design proposals for RFPs (Requests for Proposals).
You can read his full post here: Don’t design on spec.
The main reasons he gives are:
– It’s a lot of unpaid work.
– Design is only partly decoration. Mainly it is problem solving. You can’t create an appropriate design because you don’t yet know what problems need to be solved.
– It’s unsafe for agency and potential client alike.
I have to agree with Zeldman on the principle, but sometimes the project is big and juicy enough to take the risk.
Of course, not any company should allow itself to take that risk and spend money on an unsure project, and even the companies that can shouldn’t always take the risk.
I think there should be a certain balance, and that these efforts and costs should be factored into the companies’ commercial efforts where a limit is set on how far they should go and how much should be spent on them.