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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Hi , I am planning to hire a freelancer (graphic designer) to design my company logo and think it is a good idea to have a contract signed before the work is started. I know I should of provisions of Ownership of Logo design, amount to be paid, acceptance of agreement and confidentiality. Is there other things that I should have in the contract? Also is it legal to write my own contract? Does anybody have any samples of contract that I can use?


Thank you,

Spreading Love
 

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I'm going through this right now. I located a couple graphic designers by going to different art sites and lurking on art message boards. I found a guy who I think will be a good fit for my label and just sent him an E-mail. He read my business plan and was interested. The extra bonus is that he has done shirt designs in the past.

Long story short... he is sending me two contracts in the mail. I will sign both and send one back with half of the payment. When he receives the signed contract he will send me some roughs of the design we've talked about, over E-mail. He'll be fully compensated when we finalize the design. I will then have all rights to the finished design as he will have been compensated for it per the contract.
 

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Hey Spreading Love,

I have a graphic design business, and most good designers will require a contract before they start any work. This will protect both you and them from any misscommunication. You are right, typically a contract will include copywrite issues, payment, payment schedule, over time, mark up (if they pay for something for you, like getting something printed for you), project phase breakdown, cost for going beyond the scope of the outline, and project timeline. Those are the main points, and there may be other issues that are specific to each graphic designer.

Contracts for smaller scale logo projects are typically pretty straight forward, and there are contracts available that specifically use graphic design industry language. That being said, I wouldn't reccommend writing your own becuase it may not protect you and the designer in the way you want it to.

I also reccommend that you get a creative brief from your designer when you start the project. This goes over the project in detail and will cover your overall goals, direction, vision, do's and don'ts for your brand, timeline etc. It's about 1-2 pages long and serves as a guideline for the project.
 

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I am also really interested in any info on this subject. I have a few people I am discussing a future venture with and wanna make sure payment is fair for all as well as I want to have right to the designs so there is no issues in the future. I am not interested in something for nothing but I also don't wanna blow loads of money on something that may or may not catch on as I am sure you all understand.

also does anyone have any samples of agreement on payment schedules, rights, and future trademarking?

thanks in advance!
 

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Most designers will come to you with a contact - not the other way around.

They're working with clients all the time, so typically have a stock contract already put together that will cover terms of the project, time line, transfer of rights and ownership, and payment.

I'd actually say be wary of any designer who doesn't come armed with a contract

That said, I think from the client point of view the biggest thing you need to ensure is in the contract is there is transfer of all rights and ownership of the design once it's complete - you also need to make sure that you will receive a vector version of the logo at completion.

If you have any issues with the designer displaying your logo in their portfolio, make sure you address that as well.

If you want more info in general on contracts, this is a pretty good link: Free Contracts for Freelancers - Freelance Business Clients Contracts & Business Agreements for Your Customers (it's from the freelancer's prospective, but still relevant.)
 

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Guess I'm the exception. I've never made a client sign a contract. After 22 years of design work I've gotten burned probably a total of 6 or 7 times. I generally do between 20 and 45 projects a month, most of them logos and illustrations, all on trust. Having someone sign a contract is almost like saying "I'll do the work, and whether you like it or not, you're going to pay me." I stand behind my work and clients have no problem paying me when it's done.
 

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Having someone sign a contract is almost like saying "I'll do the work, and whether you like it or not, you're going to pay me."
I respectfully disagree. Contracts do not have to be that gruesome. They are quite pleasant actually, in my experience.

The main reason I make a contract is not for the guarantee of payment, and so the client has no way out, but mainly so ownership of the artwork after it is completed is in clear writing. It's for the client's protection mostly. I also include other things in the contract like guaranteeing the client that I will be there far after the logo work is completed if they need help with other things like print, etc. Or if they somehow lose their logo file because their computer crashed and they didn't have a backup, in the contract it would state that they have a lifetime guarantee from me. Things like that.

I'm sure you can do all those things on trust alone. But both parties can rest easy when there is a contract.

Also, I for one, never state that a client HAS to pay me, if they aren't satisfied. It all depends on what kind of contract you have. You can write one up however you like.
 

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You should always have something to the effect that the customer retains full use of the design. Some graphic designers will have their own contracts and the invoice may say the design was for a t-shirt or for something specific but want to be paid for uses other than what you roiginally contracted for so be aware of that.
 

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Most designers will come to you with a contact - not the other way around.

They're working with clients all the time, so typically have a stock contract already put together that will cover terms of the project, time line, transfer of rights and ownership, and payment.

I'd actually say be wary of any designer who doesn't come armed with a contract

That said, I think from the client point of view the biggest thing you need to ensure is in the contract is there is transfer of all rights and ownership of the design once it's complete - you also need to make sure that you will receive a vector version of the logo at completion.

If you have any issues with the designer displaying your logo in their portfolio, make sure you address that as well.

If you want more info in general on contracts, this is a pretty good link: Free Contracts for Freelancers - Freelance Business Clients Contracts & Business Agreements for Your Customers (it's from the freelancer's prospective, but still relevant.)
i like speacially this post like star good print and design.

custom web design houston
 

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I'm a full-time designer and very rarely have people sign contracts, mostly because if someone breaks the contract what am I going to do? A lawyer or small claims or something like that will take up more of my time and effort then the great majority of my design jobs are worth.

Having said that, for larger jobs I'll write up and get signatures on a letter of agreement that ensures that both myself and my client fully understand what we agreed to. Those are friendlier and more plain-spoken then contracts.

I wouldn't bother with a contract unless you are talking about enough money to go to small claims court over.
 

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well my partners and I intend on creating a brand.. and with 30 plus ideas on paper I am just wanting to protect those ideas for us in the long term. and considering they aren't thing I have seen on the norm I would like to ensure someone doesn't take a variation of my idea and run with it.. I know copies will be made at some point but the more protection the better in my mind.

for this reason I am having a NDA and contracts written for our contracted designers. I know myself am not interested in shorting anyone on their hard work and have intended bonuses in place for the best designs but I can't be responsible for other people morals.
 

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... Or if they somehow lose their logo file because their computer crashed and they didn't have a backup, in the contract it would state that they have a lifetime guarantee from me. ...
Sorry, this is old, but I just was surprised by this and had to comment.

Wow, you give a lifetime guarantee? Isn't that a bit dangerous? We actually make sure that the customer has a copy and tell them that we only keep the work for a year (unless it is an ongoing project like a website) and for them to make a backup, etc. We have so much work, that if we had to keep every job for eternity we would have to have terabytes and terabytes of backed up data which would be insanely expensive. That would mean if you happened to lose anything you would have to completely redo the job for free.

We actually normally keep artwork for longer than that, especially now that we can get a NAS server with many TBs for not all that much money. But still, if there were a fire here or whatever, to have to make sure that whole server was backed up off-site would be a nightmare. So we just keep the work until it starts to fill up, we start deleting the oldest work.

Cheers,
Steph
 
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