In various stages of my experience as a designer and entrepreneur, I have taken part in collaborations free of charge too, which included symbolic or non-economic remuneration. And I believe that these are the best opportunities to test the reliability of a professional.
As an entrepreneur, in fact, I have learned to circumscribe expectations and to be wary of those who partially commit themselves with the alibi of reduced remuneration.
As a designer, I approached each of these collaborations with the same passion, seriousness and care that I dedicate to those “standards”. Certainly not because the economic aspect is irrelevant, on the contrary (it is the sacrosanct recognition of the value contributed through work). But rather because I do not think we can behave otherwise. I believe that professionalism must emerge regardless of context, client and salary. Not so much because it is a strategic, advantageous or right choice but because, like morality, it is a part of us that we should not be able to “deactivate”.
As I see it, either we do something right, and to the end, or we might as well not do it at all. And this applies to professional assignments, personal projects or Christmas tree decorations.