Monday, February 26, 2024

Crafting a Graphic Design Contract to Defend Your self (with Templates)

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Having a graphic design contract in place could also be the very last thing in your thoughts whenever you’re beginning out as a freelancer. In all the joy of touchdown your first massive purchasers, it may be straightforward to overlook how vital it’s to guard your self, and your small business.

A graphic design contract does simply that, and helps to forge higher relationships between you and your purchasers in consequence. Learn on to seek out out precisely what options must be included in a graphic design contract, and simply how one can defend you, and your purchasers, within the occasion that one thing goes improper.

What’s a Graphic Design Contract?

A graphic design contract is a legally binding doc that lays out the phrases of a working partnership between a contract designer and their shopper.

Not like company or in-house graphic designers, freelancers don’t take pleasure in firm HR or authorized groups to look out for his or her pursuits. It’s due to this fact pertinent for freelance graphic designers to guard themselves, and their work, by using a graphic design contract.

The graphic design contract will put in writing what work is predicted of the designer, the timescale wherein it’s to be accomplished, what number of revisions it’s acceptable for the shopper to request, and any agreements round possession and IP, amongst different options. On this regard, the phrases of employment are a lot simpler to refer again to than with a verbal contract.

A graphic design contract will normally be drawn up by the freelance graphic designer, and must be agreed upon and signed by each the designer and the shopper previous to work commencing on a undertaking.

What Each Graphic Design Contract Should Embody

There are some widespread options and clauses that must be current in any freelance graphic design contract, no matter who’s signing it.


The primary function of a contract graphic design contract will usually be an summary of the undertaking that’s to be accomplished.

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This may usually be primarily based largely upon any undertaking proposal that was submitted to the shopper, and can embody particulars about what providers you’ll present because the freelance graphic designer, and what the shopper will likely be supplied with upon completion of the undertaking.

This part of the graphic design contract ensures that you just and the shopper are on the identical web page relating to expectations of the work, and your obligations because the designer.


The deliverables part of a graphic design contract is the place the precise particulars of what the shopper will likely be supplied with must be listed. Every part that you just’ll present for the shopper as a part of the undertaking must be listed right here, in as a lot element as doable.

This consists of itemizing particulars akin to file sorts or design variations. Even the strategy of supply could be acknowledged right here, for instance, will the designs be despatched through e mail, or delivered on a flash drive?

It will also be a good suggestion to incorporate a clause which covers any extra design belongings that the shopper might request along with the unique scope of the undertaking.


Giving your purchasers the power to request revisions to a undertaking is a good suggestion, because it demonstrates flexibility, and a need to supply work that each one events are happy with. Nevertheless, it’s vital to not change into a sufferer of scope creep.

That is when purchasers start to request extra work below the guise of revisions, that wasn’t included below the agreed upon scope of labor. So as to assist stop this, you’ll be able to element precisely what number of revisions you’ll settle for from the shopper below the unique scope of labor.

Alongside this, clarify how a lot you’ll cost as additional for extra revisions that don’t fall below this mandate. For instance, some freelancers might embody two or three revisions of their preliminary fee, with an additional premium required for any revisions past that. 16% of companies state that they might pay a premium for extra revisions on their graphic design tasks.

graphic design contract

Fee Phrases

Subsequent is the part of the contract which may make many freelancers really feel uncomfortable; the phrases of fee. In fact, there shouldn’t be something embarrassing about asking for truthful fee to your providers, so don’t rush by this part out of embarrassment with out giving it the correct time and a spotlight it deserves.

Particulars about when fee is predicted, and what type it may be made in, must be included right here. Sometimes, fee will likely be made earlier than the shopper is distributed the ultimate product.

For those who require a deposit, particulars about when and the way it must be made also needs to be included right here. Having a deposit in place is an efficient solution to safeguard you towards not being paid in any respect, and lets you see how invested in you and your work the shopper is.

In case you are to be paid in installments, then an in depth fee schedule will also be included. You would additionally embody particulars of any late charges you could want to cost for missed funds in line with this schedule.


This part of the contract offers you a spot to incorporate your working hours, and lay out any deadlines which were agreed upon. Not solely do you have to embody the deadline for the complete undertaking, but in addition for every section of the undertaking alongside the best way.

These particulars is not going to solely give your shopper the peace of thoughts of realizing that their work will likely be accomplished on time, however may also make it simpler so that you can construction your time, and stay organized and motivated.

By together with your working hours right here, it is best to hopefully cut back the cases wherein a shopper will contact you outdoors of your workplace hours.

Copyright Possession & Mental Property

This part of the graphic design contract will set out what rights the shopper, and also you because the graphic designer, can have over the finished undertaking.

As a freelancer, it’s helpful to have the ability to exhibit previous tasks you’ve labored on when pitching to new purchasers. 63% of purchasers state that the standard of a graphic designer’s portfolio is what acquired them the fee. It’s due to this fact a good suggestion to get the shopper’s permission so as to add their undertaking to your portfolio in writing.

graphic design contract

There are 4 commonplace classes of mental property (IP) possession, and any work you produce for a shopper will doubtless fall below considered one of these:

  • License for Restricted Utilization
    A license for restricted utilization can be utilized to restrict the place and when a shopper can use the work you’ve produced. In some cases, this may help you provide the identical deliverables to a number of purchasers. It’s generally used for work which is comparatively generic, akin to editorial illustrations.
  • Unique License
    An unique license is just like a license for restricted utilization, however on this case the deliverables offered are for the unique use of the unique shopper. This license is usually used for supplies that are particular to a selected shopper, akin to advert campaigns.
  • Task of Rights
    An project of rights entails transferring sole possession of the undertaking over to the shopper as soon as it’s accomplished. This license is usually used for deliverables which will likely be used for an prolonged time period and contain a singular company identification, akin to brand or mascot designs.
  • Work-Made-For-Rent
    This can be a hardly ever used license sort which signifies that the shopper is robotically seen as the only copyright proprietor and creator of any deliverables offered by the freelancer. Work for rent is mostly used if a freelancer is working on-site for a shopper and making use of their tools.

Battle of Curiosity

A battle of curiosity clause could be included in a graphic design contract to offer the shopper peace of thoughts. It is going to set up that the freelance graphic designer is not going to tackle another purchasers or tasks that may create a possible battle of curiosity with their present prospects, and be detrimental to their enterprise pursuits.

Termination Clauses

As a freelancer, you’ll perceive the significance of planning for the worst case situation. Generally work goes uncompleted, both because of unexpected circumstances, or due to a shopper canceling the undertaking.

It’s due to this fact vital that you just embody clauses in your contract to guard your self in case this occurs. A termination clause will specify what occurs if both you or your shopper must cancel the undertaking.

A termination clause also needs to element who owns the copyright over any work which is already full on the time of cancellation, and whether or not the shopper will incur any charges by canceling a undertaking that’s in progress.

4 Graphic design contract templates to get you began

If the considered making a graphic design contract for your self is inflicting you some stress, don’t fear. There are lots of freelance contract templates accessible on-line which could be custom-made to suit your personal private wants, serving to you to guard your self as a freelancer.

1. PandaDoc Freelance Contract Template

The PandaDoc Freelance Contract template is a superb instance of a freelance settlement that can assist defend you in your freelance endeavors. It comprises all the important thing options we coated above that you need to be on the lookout for in a graphic design contract, alongside extra clauses round limitation of legal responsibility, inspection and acceptance, and insurance coverage.

Contracts are simply custom-made, with a library of pre-approved clause selections enabling you to generate contracts in a matter of minutes that can serve you for a lifetime. PandaDoc’s CRM integrations make it straightforward to drag buyer information into your paperwork, dashing the method up even additional.

Utilizing PandaDoc, you’ll be able to simply collaborate on contracts with different events, with remark and chat options permitting you to simply flag up areas of concern, serving to you to generate paperwork which fulfill all people.

PandaDoc affords a free 14-day trial, with plans beginning at $19 USD per person per thirty days.

2. Merely-Docs Freelance Graphic Designer’s Settlement

The Merely-Docs Freelance Graphic Designer’s Settlement has been designed particularly with freelance graphic designers in thoughts. It’s absolutely IR35 compliant, and ensures that the freelancer is at all times handled as a self-employed contractor, and never as a de-facto worker of their shopper.

Commonplace clauses are included which cowl charges, termination, and mental property, with different much less widespread clauses overlaying the self-employment standing of the freelancer, legislation and jurisdiction, and different dispute decision.

Merely-Docs is a UK primarily based firm with entry to all of the paperwork in a selected folder for £35 + VAT per yr, (round $40 USD). Folders embody ‘Employment Paperwork’, ‘Company Paperwork’, and ‘Enterprise Paperwork’, the place the Freelance Graphic Designer’s Settlement could be discovered.

3. Jotform Graphic Designer Contract

The Jotform Graphic Designer Contract could be stuffed out and signed on any system, making it good for freelance graphic designers who could also be working from dwelling, or on the transfer. The contract design could be customized, then simply shared with purchasers by a hyperlink.

Utilizing the drag and drop contract builder, visible design adjustments could be made, phrases and circumstances could be up to date, and your personal private brand could be added.

Jotform affords a free starter plan which lets you create 5 kinds and make 100 submissions per thirty days. Paid plans begin at $34 per thirty days (billed yearly), for 25 kinds and 1,000 submissions per thirty days.

graphic design contract

4. Millo Freelance Contract Template

Right here’s a freelance contract template drafted by net designer and developer Jill Anderson to be used by Millo readers. Whereas it doesn’t include a number of the fancy options supplied by a number of the contract technology platforms listed above, it’s an efficient contract nonetheless.

Plus it’s free to make use of, making it the proper selection for freelancers in a spread of inventive industries, who’re simply beginning out on their freelance journey.

5 The explanation why it is best to at all times use a graphic design contract

In a really perfect world, each undertaking you settle for as a freelancer would run easily. Sadly, we don’t dwell in a really perfect world, and tasks can typically get messy. Freelance graphic design contracts are used to guard your pursuits, and people of your purchasers, in these cases.

Somewhat than ready for the worst to occur, it’s a good suggestion to be proactive and begin utilizing the follow of contract technology for each undertaking. Listed below are just some of the advantages to utilizing a graphic design contract as a freelancer.

1. Guarantee You’re Paid Appropriately

Some purchasers could also be reluctant to cough up the money you’ve earned by your arduous work. Within the unlucky occasion that this does occur, having a graphic design contract signed by your shopper can offer you authorized recourse.

Having clauses which set out the precise deliverables you’ll present and the scope of the undertaking will assist to guard you towards purchasers who might attempt to pay solely a part of your payment, claiming that the undertaking hasn’t been accomplished as agreed upon.

Detailing what constitutes a suitable revision, and the way a lot you’ll cost for extra revisions, will assist to guard you towards purchasers who attempt to get hold of extra supplies below the guise of revisions.

2. Construct Belief

As a inventive, not solely does a freelance contract defend your personal pursuits, however it additionally lays out the possession rights of the purchasers you’re working with. Alongside this, purchasers are additionally offered with a timeline by which funds must be made, and after they can count on deliverables to be turned over.

Which means that having a graphic design contract in place as a freelancer helps to construct belief between you and your purchasers. It exhibits that you just’re taking your small business significantly, and reassures purchasers that they will count on their tasks to be accomplished in a well timed method, and to a excessive commonplace.

15% of these working with freelance designers stated that not with the ability to belief the designer was the worst a part of the expertise. A graphic design contract will help to mitigate this, securing the belief of your purchasers, and hopefully touchdown you extra tasks sooner or later.

graphic design contract

3. Set a Lifelike Timescale

Utilizing a graphic design contract helps to maintain each events apprised of the schedule that you just’ll be working to. This helps you construction your time, and will hopefully assist cut back the possibilities of purchasers frantically chasing you for updates each couple of days.

It will also be useful to set an finish date to your providers to your purchasers. This may assist defend you within the occasion that purchasers begin chasing you up for revisions months after you’ve submitted your last variations of the deliverables.

4. Stop Scope Creep

Scope creep is a typical downside for a lot of freelancers, with purchasers sneakily attempting to request extra work than was initially agreed upon, with out renegotiating your fee.

You could want to ship some extra work outdoors the unique scope as a good-will gesture, if it’s not going to take an excessive amount of time or effort to finish. This will help bolster your status as a freelancer, and will result in repeat work sooner or later. Nevertheless, some purchasers, if given an inch, will take a mile.

A graphic design contract helps defend you towards the danger of tasks always rising in scope. By detailing the unique settlement about what work is to be accomplished, and what deliverables will likely be offered as a part of the completed undertaking, you’ll be able to defend your self towards purchasers who need to benefit from your good nature.

5. Deal With Termination

Though undertaking termination will likely be a final resort for a lot of freelancers, sadly there could also be cases the place you don’t have any selection however to cancel a undertaking earlier than completion. A termination clause helps defend you within the occasion that circumstances outdoors your management drive you to cut back your workload.

It is going to additionally defend you within the occasion {that a} shopper decides to half methods with you earlier than a undertaking is full. Purchasers might typically want to go in a distinct route with a undertaking, probably with a distinct graphic designer. A graphic design contract will assist be sure that you receives a commission pretty for the work you’ve already produced within the occasion that this occurs.

Draw Up Your Graphic Design Contract Now

Utilizing a graphic design contract is one of the best ways to guard your pursuits as a freelancer, and the pursuits of your purchasers.

It is going to assist to outline the phrases of your partnership, and assist present a schedule that each events can keep on with, on the subject of the work itself, and getting paid for it. A graphic design contract ought to assist to eradicate any confusion surrounding possession and mental property rights, in addition to what is going to occur within the case of termination.

Having a graphic design contract in place provides you with peace of thoughts, so you’ll be able to cease worrying concerning the phrases of your employment, and deal with creating some actually impactful designs as an alternative.

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Profile Image: Yauhen Zaremba

Written by Yauhen Zaremba

Contributor at

Yauhen is the Director of Demand Technology at PandaDoc, all-in-one doc administration device for nearly all kinds of paperwork together with these PandaDoc Illinois invoice of sale instance. He’s been a marketer for 10+ years, and for the final 5 years, he’s been fully targeted on the digital signature, proposal, and doc administration markets. Yauhen has expertise talking at area of interest conferences the place he enjoys sharing his experience with different curious entrepreneurs. And in his spare time, he’s an avid fisherman and takes practically 20 fishing journeys yearly.

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Reviewed & edited by Adam Wright, at Millo.

At Millo, we attempt to publish solely the very best, most reliable and dependable content material for freelancers. You’ll be able to study extra by reviewing our editorial coverage.

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