(This is a deliberately broad question. A correct answer would be a set of considerations with a strong experience-based rationale)

I've been invited to put some of my designs forward for publication in a showcase book ("for free!" they enthusiastically said, as if the publishers aren't benefiting by getting free content...).

I'm early in my career and so it seems like a win-win deal and some welcome positive exposure. But since I've not been in this position before, I'm wondering if there are questions I should be asking or criteria I should be insisting on that I haven't thought of.

At its most general, this question is: from your experience, what considerations and questions should a designer have when having their work showcased commercially by a third party?

Some of the specific questions I have are, how concerned about things like copyright should I be? (I did check to make sure I wasn't signing away rights but I'm no expert here) Is it something people include on CVs and resumes, or is it not that big a deal? Is it common for designers to pay to be included in showcase books, as the publishers seemed keen to imply? And under what circumstances (if any) should a designer expect royalites from the publisher?

But chances are these questions themselves are misguided. Ultimately my question is: is showcasing by a third party really a win-win situation for a designer, as it seems to be to me, or are there serious considerations (and if so what are they)?

(or is it not really a big deal and I'm thinking too much?)

1 Answer 1


Could be the all-to-common scam of getting you to submit work (for free), then they want you to pay for the book. Basically, they do a very small run for the people that submitted work.... it'll never be seen by anyone else. They elude to it being an "artist directory" of sorts, but it generally isn't. They make their money by selling the books to those who submitted the work, that's all.

Ask questions... what's the run size? Distribution? How many copies will you receive? These will ferret out a scam immediately.

Honorable publications which request your work may ask for it for free. There's no problem with that. However, they'll also send you copies of the publication for free and will gladly share with you the run size and distribution since that's the trade off for your work.

You're better off submitting work to known publications such as HOW, Print, Communication Arts, etc. There is a fee to submit to these publications and the fee doesn't guarantee inclusion, but if you do get in, at least the work is actually seen by people in the industry.

  • Great answer. I had a gut feeling that there could be scams in this sort of thing but I couldn't figure out what they might be. I think these guys might be a bit like that (dubious vanity publishers rather than out-and-out scammers), I'll keep a careful eye out. Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 12:00

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