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Ben SaysI did an unpaid internship when I was in school, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career so far. I’ve heard many people who think it’s outrageous to not pay someone for their work, but life isn’t that black and white. I believe some learning opportunities like this are worth working for free for the experience.

When it comes to managing and dealing with your own clients I don’t have as much experience as Frank. I do frequently donate my time to charities and causes I believe in, but I would be hesitant to do anything for a business that I wasn’t being compensated for.


Frank SaysDon’t work for free. Always try get something out of it, otherwise you’ll make yourself out to be of no value. (Which hopefully isn’t true.) This does not necessarily have to be a form of monetary payment though: you can work for trade or services. Typically, if you work hard enough to figure out something, these people can offer you something of value.

I do believe that there are certain situations though where a creative can choose to work for free or pro bono for causes they believe in. Examples would be non-profit organizations and charities. I would just hesitate to do this with any businesses that seek to make money.

Here’s a quick tip: if you’re in initial talks with someone about a project and they say the word exposure, run for the hills.


Ben Says


Frank Says

The album cover. It was invented, as it’s currently understood, by Alex Steinweiss in 1939.

I spent the better part of my teenage years with my nose inside of liner notes and studying album covers. I’d like to think that the past few generations of creative folk did the same with the music they consumed.


Dear Ben & Frank

Do you believe in inspiration or just doing it?

Question Submitted by lili

Ben SaysI’m not really sure what the difference is? I definitely believe in inspiration, and think it plays a role in everything I do as a creative person. If I find myself unsure of where to start I just draw whatever comes to mind first and go from there. It’s much easier to look at something and assess why it sucks than it is to try and do it brilliantly the first time.


Frank SaysBoth. Sometimes you get the kiss from God, and can make something wonderful in a jolt of inspiration. Other times, you just have to get started and let the process inspire you.


Dear Ben & Frank

Really, is this blog dead or what?

Question Submitted by Anonymous

Ben SaysIt’s not’s me.


Frank SaysCan’t a dude go on vacation?


Dear Ben & Frank

Do you ever feel upset about taking design breaks?

Question Submitted by Matt Vogt

Ben SaysWhen I haven’t made anything for a long time I start to get restless. I frequently get into these long drawn out research and understanding phases. Given the work I’m currently doing it is totally necessary, but still I have a strong need to make stuff.

I don’t really consider this a break though, I’m still very much engaged in conceptual thinking.

Whenever I feel this way I try to make a book, screen print or letterpress something, or at least draw.

If I’m stuck all together in trying to come up with a concept I try to get away from thinking about design at all. I will usually go for a bike ride, to the library/book store.


Frank SaysI think any time I’m not working ridiculously hard, I do feel a certain twinge of guilt course through my veins. I just have to remind myself though that life is more than work, taking breaks keeps me healthy (creatively, spiritually and, um, bodily), and that I’ll always be hardest on myself about my work ethic.

I’m finding that I usually spend my off time traveling and taking things in. It’s hard work always outputting, so it’s important to give yourself some time to take in some input.