I'm not sure what I think about this. I know some clients will love it and I'm sure it will make the people who set it up a lot of money, but is it yet another way to drive down quality in the industry?
I'm the guy that updates Graphic Design Forum for Creative Protege, and let me tell you I read your comments with a great deal of interest!
The philosophy at Creative Protege is to help graduates improve their CV and portfolio of design work through guaranteed work experience.
As the company was set up by Gloss Creative Recruitment, we have a vast pool of top contacts from the design sector who provide us with live briefs for our graduates to work on.
Please check out our portfolio here on Graphic Design Forum for a brief example of the quality of work our graduates produce, or read the blog on our website to discover the success Creative Protege is experiencing.
Hmmm.... A recruitment agency who (I know from experience) deem anyone with less than a years studio experience unsuitable for the most junior of roles. Running a freelance experience building site for graduates...?
By their very own rule, this is little more than making money off the back of people desperate to be in the industry.
Like I said before, In principle it is a good idea but it really isnt the place to be gaining experience for possible future employment, perhaps more a place for grads to keep their hand in while they search for employment?
As a result of the amount of CVs Gloss received for jobs where the graduates didn't have enough experience (clients words, not theirs), Gloss decided to do what many others aren't doing and decided to help them out by creating Creative Protege. By making use of their contacts within the creative sector (over 400 design agencies) they can provide briefs directly from Creative Directors whereby graduates can work on them onsite or remotely. Most importantly this gives graduates a company which they can then put on their CV as employment - complete with references - and a portfolio which includes companies such as MTV, Salvation Army, ripe design etc.
Since its inception Creative Protege has managed to find graduates freelance work, voluntary placements, paid placements, permanent work and as much careers advice as they can handle. They have even helped a group of talented designers create a collective and start their own agency to bring in paid work. It has 2 people working for it which is fully funded by Gloss and currently makes no profit. Any money that it does make goes right back into the company in order to provide more man hours / facilities and help give opportunity to the designers who are obviously serious about getting into the industry.
The bottom line is that we get graduates into the industry by using technology, innovation and the passion of the graduates - surely that can only be a good thing? It's definitely working and the designers that show the most promise (and we have discovered some amazing talent) get taken on as freelancers for paid work for clients that can't afford to use a traditional design agency.
We have helped to launch PR and Design agencies, 2 magazines, a holistic therapy chain, a charity, and many more start ups and I promise you this - the work is awesome...
We really enjoy this forum as it has been a great place for us to get feedback on improving our company and always welcome help from industry experts in making our offering better. In no way do we wish do step on anybody's toes - we just want to re-grease the wheels of employment starting with those who need it and be further involved in the industry we all love.
I would like to apologise for my somewhat negative response to Creative Protege. Im sure its a very useful resorce for graduates trying to make their way into the industry. I still have my reservations but if its working for even a minority, it can be deemed a sucess.
As some positive feedback, Perhaps the company could look at developing the work placement side of things as getting a foot in the door is the most difficult part of being a graduate.
And again, this is going to sound like sour grapes...
You're undercutting design professionals who are finding it hard enough at the moment anyway, providing not that special work to clients that should know better. Long term, it's possible that this approach could put a lot of people out of business. And then there'll be nowhere for these graduates to work and gain experience anyway.
And if the work's really that 'awesome', they should have no trouble finding a job with or without you. I'm all for helping graduates, (although I think good people will get job eventually anyway) but doing it by undercutting established agencies doesn't seem a particularly good way of going about things.
It's always been this way - there have always been newbies to the industry offering work on the cheap to build experience and portfolio.
I did it, and I bet most freelancers did it also when they started.
It didn't harm the industry 8 years ago when I did it, and it's probably not going to harm it now really.
Basically any serious business with any sort of budget wouldn't use someone totally lacking in experience anyway, the only businesses interested will be those with barely any funds for design and any experienced designer charges too much for that sort of business anyway.
So basically experienced designers aren't looking in the same pool of customers that new designers are ...there is no competition for 'the same customers' to speak of.
It is spec work though after looking at it closely I saw a sign saying that 'for these projects' they will only get paid if the project is used. I'd recommend to any new designer that they get experience by offering design work 'for cheap', rather than working for completely free. There's no need to work for completely free on the risk your work will be bought.