Last Gasp logo design contest


I thought these kinds of design contests are considered unethical attempts to get spec work for free. Someone care to set me straight?


Yep, that’s what I was thinking as well.


I’m not gonna rant or get extra indignant about this since I truly understand the motivation for these contests, but:

In 1970, Ron hired underground comix artist Greg Irons to draw the cover of the first Last Gasp publication - Slow Death Funnies #1.

[emphasis mine]

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Yep. This smells like an attempt to solicit spec work and get lots of trained professionals to give away their skills for free.

I thought BoingBoing was against this kind of exploitation of artists?


I’ve often cut slack for these sorts of things when it is apparent that it is done by a small community group or tiny charity or such & is really only looking among the people they know for -help-.

But looking at Last Gasps website ( & you picked up on a very good example there ) it’s clear they aren’t any of those things & can very likely afford the services they are asking for.

Some people use these sorts of things as marketing & consider the practically free work a bonus, which is kind of a double bad. If they are doing for marketing or to engage their fan base or whatever & they think it will work… simply adding a respectable cash prize for first place avoids being jerks & they still come out way, way ahead if they get any attention at all for the contest.

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I was thinking the same as the above comments…

Q: Who doesn’t like drawing logos for free? A: No one! Attention Artists! Last Gasp is pleased to announce our first ever Do Free Professional Work for Last Gasp Contest! Design an original Last Gasp skull logo and claim your place in history instead of pay for your work.

They’re not. A fairly vocal contingent of readers rattles their sabers every time BB helps promote one of these things. It never changes anything, except maybe another couple of people think “Hey, these cool people and I don’t agree on everything.”

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Well played, janelle​_​hessig, well played.

And the “contest…designed to be fun and to celebrate a cool aspect of Last Gasp’s history” wouldn’t just also happen to promote Last Gasp at the same time? A complete coincidence, I’m sure.

Nobody, yet, is saying that people shouldn’t participate if they feel like it, but let’s not pretend that even companies who’s contests have “no nefarious intentions” can’t still be benefiting from unpaid work, even if it indirectly.


I love Last Gasp and their publications, I also love a good contest, but this

“(11) All entries become the property of the Contest Sponsor and will not be returned.”

is a problem. Even if you don’t win, and get no “reward”, you still turn over all rights to your work to LG.


Rule 11 is an odd rule. Last Gasp seems to be using some old boilerplate rules for contests entered by mailing physical art into them. Returning entries would cost them a bunch (though, that same exact cost is being born by contestants to send things in). However, as rule 1 says all entries must be submitted digitally I’m not sure why rule 11 is there.

Rule 9 would seem to be the key rule governing IP:

(9) By entering this Contest, each contestant consents to the use of his/her name, and/or artwork in any merchandise, advertisements, educational materials or publicity carried out or produced by Last Gasp and its advertising and promotional agencies without further notice or compensation. Last Gasp can publish or decline to publish, or use or decline to use, any submitted artwork at Last Gasp’s sole discretion. In turn, the contestant still retains the rights to use and publish their artwork.

Rule 9 is where contestants give Last Gasp the right to use their work without compensation even if they don’t win any of the prizes.

But don’t worry, nothing nefarious going on here.

The last sentence Last Gasp says that contestants retain the right to use their own work, but that right is phrased as “In turn,” and possibly contingent on Last Gasp declining to use the submission. The contract is ambiguous at best on whether artists retain any rights if Last Gasp does use their entry.

I’m not trying to say that Last Gasp are evil corporatists, but neither can I see the contest as utterly without any promotional benefit to Last Gasp. How different this contest is from others is a matter of degrees rather than a fundamental one.

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Well. Cynical free promotion or friendly artist event, in the end, he who gasps last, gasps longest.

" Askers embody themselves in me, and I am embodied in them, I project my hat and sit shamefaced and beg." – Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”

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