Is this really a better way of doing business and looking for new designers/designs or is it as archaic and demeaning as the dark ages? This trend that I have noticed in the last couple of years primarily used by the less reputable companies and I'm sure many a designer has encountered this at some time in thier career. It started in the fashion industry to foster creativity, a mase and a free data base of new designs.
Essentially it's a cattle call for designs that only cost the price of a help wanted ad in the local paper. Ironically most companies think it's like pulling the proverbial canvas over the designer's eyes in order to keep it fresh and ahead of the rest... oh but they are sooo wrong. One day they will come up against a designer that will call them on thier ill gotten designs and take them to court and in the end they are worst off. Not only are they using rough designs but they will have to pay court fees and will have to pull the product(s) which they had just spent thousands on to produce...belive me word carries fast when designers do not get paid for thier designs. Disreputable in one arena more than likely disreputable in another = bad business.
In Canada the law is that unless agreed to "design rights automatically belong to the artist unless those rights are released". Trust me much easier just to pay for the trial art...in the event the company decides to produce the design(s).
So designers... I say beware!...ask the questions I didn't ask at the initial interview.
Why do you need a freelance designer?
Are you currently using an in-house designer?
What are you planing to do with the designs?..