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Lagos Dribbble Meet: Naija Freelance Designers Are...

Lagos Dribbble Meet: Naija Freelance Designers Are Really, Really, Really Fed Up With ‘Exposure’ Clients

This year’s edition of the Lagos Dribble Meet tagged ‘LagosMeet’ organized by Oluwafemi Coker of Cockards, a Lagos based design outfit, invited over 100 Designers from Lagos and beyond to discuss and thrash out problems and solutions facing the Design sub-industry in Nigeria.

The serene spaces at co-working hub ‘Workstation’ artfully converted to a mini event center hosted the event for the second year running and provided the calm backdrop for the heated discussions that would later take place.

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One of the major challenges discussed was how many professional designers continue to be at the bottom of the business food chain, especially when it concerns ‘billing’ or ‘getting paid’.

There is obviously little or no regard for the work of freelance designers, with most clients offering to pay minimum wage or with ‘Exposure’, that is, the client guarantees the designer publicity for his skill in return for work done. We asked some Freelancers how they felt about this:

“It depends. Some brands are bigger than others. I don’t want any exposure from any Nigerian client, because a lot of Nigerian client will not expose me to the kind of client that I want, so it really depends on the kind of client. If it’s a global company like Cartoon Network for instance, I’ll like to do something for Cartoon Network or CNN offers me exposure I will take it with both my hands. However, if I can get money, I will try everything within my means to get value for my work but if it’s exposure it has to be a large scale and the exposure has to translate to value, a lot of value.” – Seyi Olusanya – Da Design Studio

“Can you use exposure to buy Gala on the road? Why would someone say they want to pay you with exposure in 2018? It’s just wrong, man. It depends on the type of client though; Like imagine a person like Dangote approaches me and says he wants to pay me with exposure, so what kind of exposure is he going to give me? Will he sign an NDA that he will give me like two clients? More work? If he wants a pro-bono for the first one? I like that kind of exposure.”-  Collyde Prime – Freelance Illustrator

Safe to say many Freelancers are not happy about the situation. But some were of the opinion that the ‘Exposure’ currency isn’t always a bad deal, depending of course that terms were set and met.

“…When you’re starting, you can collect some exposure but there has to be something to it; You can tell a client “Ok, this thing costs N200,000 but because you’re going to get me in front of 5 million people, I’ll give you a 50% discount of N100,000” On the invoice, it’s still going to say N200,000, 50% discount because of ‘Exposure’ and you’re going to have a tangible thing. But one lesson I’ve learned in terms of negotiation is you never give anything for free. So if anyone says “Exposure, blah blah” , fine; Exposure, give me certain guarantees, based on those certain guarantees, they can be turned into money and I’ll do it but just exposure for exposure sake? No.” – Lanre Oyedotun

Are you a freelancer of any sort? What’s your take on the ‘Exposure’ currency? Drop a comment!

Check out some photos from the Lagos Meet event below:

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