Manifesto:

  1. The Brand Syndicate conducts itself and its business appropriately in a professional manner
  2. We provide responsible branding services which are backed diligently by thorough knowledge, experience and research
  3. The Brand Syndicate propagates ethical business for a better tomorrow by conducting its business in a transparent and ethical manner
  4. We are creative in our work and in how we secure brand positioning in the already populated minds of our contemporaries
  5. At The Brand Syndicate, we believe in building brand equity for our clients over time
  6. The Brand Syndicate is steadfast in our values and belief structure as well as those of our client brands
  7. The Brand Syndicate will not lie for our clients nor do we lie to ourselves
  8. We do not devalue our work in any manner and therefore will not negotiate our terms or undertake speculative work
  9. We will not compromise on our work, how it is produced or how it is managed by our clients
  10. The Brand Syndicate believes in securing long term relationships with our clients by proving ourselves to be trustworthy partners in the brand building process over due course of time as well as sticking to our manifesto

Principles & Responsibilities:

The Brand Syndicate adheres to principles of integrity that demonstrate respect for the profession we have chosen, for colleagues, for clients, for audiences or consumers, and for society.

Responsibility to clients:

  1. We shall acquaint ourselves with a client’s business and design standards and shall act in the client’s best interest within the limits of professional responsibility.
  2. We shall not work simultaneously on assignments that create a conflict of interest without agreement of the clients or employers concerned, except in specific cases where it is the convention of a trade for a designer to work at the same time for various competitors.
  3. We shall treat all work in progress prior to the completion of a project and all knowledge of a client’s intentions, production methods and business organization as confidential and shall not divulge such information in any manner whatsoever without the consent of the client. It is our responsibility to ensure that all staff members act accordingly.
  4. We will not accept instructions from a client or employer that involve violation of our ethical standards and will either correct said instructions or refuse the assignment.

Responsibility to other designers:

  1. In our pursuit of business opportunities, we support fair and open competition.
  2. We shall not knowingly accept any professional assignment on which another firm has been or is working without notifying the other firm or until he or she is satisfied that any previous appointments have been properly terminated and that all materials relevant to the continuation of the project are the clear property of the client.
  3. We will not attempt, directly or indirectly, to supplant or compete with another firm by means of unethical inducements.
  4. We shall be objective and balanced in criticizing another firm’s work and shall not denigrate the work or reputation of a fellow competitor.
  5. We shall not accept instructions from a client that involve infringement of another person’s property rights without permission, or consciously act in any manner involving any such infringement.
  6. While working in a country other than ours, we own shall observe the relevant Code of Conduct of the national society concerned.

Fees:

  1. We shall work only for a fee, a royalty, salary or other agreed-upon form of compensation. We shall not retain any kickbacks, hidden discounts, commission, allowances or payment in kind from contractors or suppliers. Clients will be made aware of mark-ups.
  2. A reasonable handling and administration charge may be added, with the knowledge and understanding of the client, as a percentage to all reimbursable items, billable to a client, that pass through our account.
  3. If we have a financial interest in any suppliers who may benefit from a recommendation made by us during a project, we will inform the client or employer of this fact in advance of the recommendation.
  4. If we are asked to advise on the selection of designers or the consultants, we shall not base such advice in the receipt of payment from the designer or consultants recommended.

Publicity:

  1. Any self-promotion, advertising or publicity must not contain deliberate misstatements of competence, experience or professional capabilities. It must be fair both to clients and other designers.
  2. We may allow a client to use our name for the promotion of work designed or services provided in a manner that is appropriate to the status of the profession.

Authorship:

  1. We shall not claim sole credit for a design on which other designers have collaborated.
  2. When not the sole author of a design, it is incumbent upon us to clearly identify our specific responsibilities or involvement with the design. Examples of such work may not be used for publicity, display or portfolio samples without clear identification of precise areas of authorship.

Responsibility to the public:

  1. We shall avoid projects that will result in harm to the public.
  2. We shall communicate the truth in all situations and always; our work shall not make false claims nor knowingly misinform. We shall represent messages in a clear manner in all forms of communication design and avoid false, misleading and deceptive promotion.
  3. We shall respect the dignity of all audiences and shall value individual differences even as they avoid depicting or stereotyping people or groups of people in a negative or dehumanizing way. We shall strive to be sensitive to cultural values and beliefs and engages in fair and balanced communication design that fosters and encourages mutual understanding.

Responsibility to society and the environment

  1. The Brand Syndicate, while engaged in the practice or instruction of design, shall not knowingly do or fail to do anything that constitutes a deliberate or reckless disregard for the health and safety of the communities in which we reside and practice or the privacy of the individuals and businesses therein. We shall take a responsible role in the visual portrayal of people, the consumption of natural resources, and the protection of animals and the environment.
  2. We strive to contribute five percent of our time to projects in the public good-projects that serve society and improve the human experience.
  3. We shall consider environmental, economic, social and cultural implications of his or her work and minimize the adverse impacts.
  4. We shall not knowingly accept instructions from a client or employer that involve infringement of another person’s or group’s human rights or property rights without permission of such other person or group, or consciously act in any manner involving any such infringement.
  5. We shall not knowingly make use of goods or services offered by manufacturers, suppliers or contractors that are accompanied by an obligation that is substantively detrimental to the best interests of our client, society or the environment.
  6. We shall refuse to engage in or countenance discrimination based on race, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability.
  7. We shall strive to understand and support the principles of free speech, freedom of assembly, and access to an open marketplace of ideas and shall act accordingly.

Pitches or “Speculative Work”:

The Brand Syndicate strongly discourages the prevalent practice of requesting that design work be produced and submitted on a speculative basis to be considered for acceptance on a project.

We feel such an approach compromises the quality of work you are entitled to and also violates a tacit, long-standing ethical standard in the communication design profession worldwide.

Our two main reasons for this position are as follow:

  1. To assure the client receives the most appropriate and responsive work. Successful design work results from a collaborative process between a client and the designer with the intention of developing a clear sense of the client’s objectives, competitive situation and needs. Speculative design competitions or processes result in a superficial assessment of the project at hand that is not grounded in a client’s business dynamics. Design creates value for clients as a result of the strategic approach designers take in addressing the problems or needs of the client and only at the end of that process is a “design” created. Speculative or open competitions for work based on a perfunctory problem statement will not result in the best design solution for the client.
  2. Requesting work for free demonstrates a lack of respect for the designer and the design process. Requesting work for free reflects a lack of understanding and respect for the value of effective design as well as the time of the professionals who are asked to provide it. This approach, therefore, reflects on your personal practices and standards and may be harmful to the professional reputation of both you and your business.

There are few professions where all possible candidates are asked to do the work first, allowing the buyer to choose which one to compensate for their efforts. (Just consider the response if you were to ask a dozen lawyers to write a brief for you from which you would then choose which one to pay!) We realize that there are some creative professions with a different set of standards, such as advertising and architecture, for which billings are substantial and continuous after you select a firm of record. In those cases, you are not receiving the outcome (the advertising campaign or the building) for free as you would be in receiving a communication design solution.

There is an appropriate way to explore the work of various designers. A more effective and ethical approach to requesting speculative work is to ask designers to submit examples of their work from previous assignments as well as a statement of how they would approach your project. You can then judge the quality of the designer’s previous work and his or her way of thinking about your business. The designer you select can then begin to work on your project by designing strategic solutions to your criteria while under contract to you, without having to work on speculation up front.

If you would like to work with our firm in developing a process that will benefit you most and maintain the high business standards we expect from you, please do not hesitate to give us a call. There are many local and national designers who can provide you with solutions that will far exceed your expectations, with respect for an appropriate budget and schedule. In the end, this approach ensures a more effective, professional and profitable process for everyone involved.

Your consideration of these professional design issues is greatly appreciated.