Sometimes, do it for free.

Sometimes, do it for free.

I like to read a lot of articles, blog posts, and the like online to keep current on design. I’ve read over and over to never do design for free. Don’t give design away for free because then people will expect it. Granted, that’s true, and I’ve run into that on more than one occasion.

However, there are times where giving design away for free is super fulfilling, giving back, and just a nice thing to do. Giving back is just good karma. I don’t care if you believe in karma or not. It’s pure and simple: you get what you give.

I was recently asked to create a logo for a benefit for a friend of mine. She’s been a long-time sufferer of lyme disease and has only just recently been diagnosed. Her medical bills have been atrocious and not covered by insurance. Here’s her story.

LoriLogoThe requirements of the logo were that it be a round seal, be lime green, and include some sort of plant imagery. From those parameters it instantly popped into my head, so it went together pretty quickly. Lori and Brianne (the awesome chick putting on the event—also one of my high school buddies) loved it right away with no corrections. Brianne wanted me to send an invoice, but I just couldn’t do it.

Even if I had no prior history with the ladies involved, when working with an independent event trying to raise money for something like this, it just feels like bad form. I wanted to do right by them (and me) and not charge for the work I did. I’m sure some people would say, “IDIOT! Take the money and run!,” but I just don’t have that in me. Granted, that could be why I’m not pursuing much freelance these days (I’ll write about that soon), but the decision just felt right to me.


This past Saturday was the big event, and it was great to get to see Lori and Brianne in person again. There was a huge turnout. They did so much work and it showed. I haven’t heard any dollar totals yet, but I’ve got my fingers crossed they made their goal and then some.

I was awash in a sea of people wearing the shirts they printed using my logo. It was overwhelming. In addition to thanks from the ladies, random people came up to me, thanking for the work done. I’ve never experienced anything remotely like that. Such amazing people in that room…all with such powerful love for Lori. I was so glad to have been there.

And now back to my original message: Sometimes, do it for free. All the hugs, thank you’s, and stories I heard about how much it meant to them meant so much more than any invoice. I know it won’t pay the bills, but take one for the team and help out a fellow human being now and then. It’ll make them (and yes, you) feel good.


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