How spec work helped me in my career

I have read a lot of articles and saw a lot of different video’s about the negative effect of spec work. If you don’t know what is spec work you can go ahead and google it, if you are too lazy to google, here is the summary:

“You work for free and maybe get paid”

I wanted to tell you my perspective about spec work from my personal experience, This is my personal story and I’m sure a lot of designers will not share my point of view.

Yes, Spec work is not for everybody.

The story begins with a young highly motivated designer that have no real idea what is design, Yes at school, we learn the theory and basis of graphic design. We did a lot of fake projects and it’s been great, but it was far from the real world experience.

While in my third year I came across a site called 99designs (I didn’t know what is spec work at the time). I saw it as an opportunity to improve my design skills. I started with something simple ,  so I thought - Logo Design.

I don’t remember my first contest, only that I lost and then another and yes, I lost again, but with every contest I saw that I’m getting more star rating and more feedback so it gave me more motivation to keep going and not give up.

In my twenties contest I got my first win!!!, this was the first time I design something for money — I won 300$ that was a lot for me at the time (student).

It was a design for a clothing company name Blue tassel.

i Know it's not the best logo ever made, but for me it was a start.

After I won, I got even more motivation to keep entering contests and found myself more into the contest than finishing my projects for school and one win led to another and another so i kept going....

Some logos that made the cut....

Not everything was perfect, a lot of my logos were stolen or copied, sometime I work a lot on perfecting the logos and still lost - So again it's not for everyone.

If you take the lost personally and get mad about it, or even depressed I don't recommend you to start.

If I lose I learn from the process and try to get better next time.

This is the last logo that i have designed

After Graduating I got spotted by an amazing company called Wix that gave me the opportunity to work full time as a user experience designer.

What I do at Wix is for a different post.


In conclusion

I agree nobody should work for free, But this isn't the case here, sure I could spend the time watching more movies or play on Xbox, But I didn't, I decided to spend my time gaining experience in designing and competing against amazing designers all over the world and even winning sometimes.

I gave spec work a chance and i like it :)