A successful lettering artist and branding agency owner has issued a call to arms for creatives tired of being undervalued and underpaid with the launch of #OurTimeHasValue – a global initiative which seeks to change attitudes towards those who work in creative fields.
The gig economy is booming around the world, with record numbers of workers offering up their services on demand. In the UK, around five million people are thought to be employed in this capacity, while 57.3 million people freelance in the USA –with forecasts suggesting freelancers will become the majority workforce in America within a decade. While proponents of the sharing economy point to the freedom and flexibility this type of employment facilitates, many professions are increasingly finding themselves undercut and undervalued. Some opponents say the gig economy is creating “Dickensian conditions” and “a human cloud of digital serfs” with a race to the bottom for wages and benefits.
While the gig economy and freelancing platforms like Upwork mean anyone can monetise their skill, it also means there’s a global marketplace so prices are reduced to the lowest common denominator. The Independent reports that “that average earnings per hour in many online freelancing platforms are lower than minimum wages in advanced economies but a multiple of that in developing nations.”
James Lewis, lettering artist and the founder of the branding agency, Ligature Collection says that as a result, creatives such as graphic designers, photographers and artists often find their time and skill is not valued and in some cases, taken advantage of. “The average value of a creative education is £21,000 / $30,000 with around 1000 days of studying required to acquire the skills needed to qualify as a designer or artist. In the USA, the arts and culture contribute more to the economy than transport and agriculture yet it’s all too common to find clients expecting work for next to nothing. There is a sense that creating a design or drawing a picture isn’t valuable and that time spent in the creative process or changes to brief shouldn’t be paid for – when in fact in most cases, it’s that creative who’s actually designing the brand or laying the foundations for a success marketing campaign.
“I know that there are thousands of creatives who’s work simply isn’t valued, who are forced to work for lower rates or put free time towards projects because of the nature of the freelance economy and the global marketplace. I want to change this. Artists and designers should be paid appropriately for their time and not expected to work for free or for a fee that undervalues their work.”
James Lewis has created the #OurTimeHasValue campaign to raise awareness about the issue and give creatives a voice. He’s invited creatives around the world to be a part of the movement and join him by creating an artwork that is relevant to the #OurTimeHasValue discussion and share on social media along with a story of how they were undervalued and declare that this will no longer be acceptable.
The campaign has already racked up thousands of views on social media with creatives from around the world voicing their support and showing their experiences. Discover them all and support the movement using the hashtag #OurTimeHasValue.
Lewis has also created a range of stickers to back the movement. To find out more, visit http://www.jamesllewis.com/product/our-time-has-value-stickers or follow the campaign on Instagram:
Note to editor
Media images can be downloaded from Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/opn1am1kutu7ezp/AAAYrdhnjf47kQ4O8t5s1_EWa?dl=0