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Graphic Designers: Vital Things Your Contract Should Include For Your Protection
By Mikelle Leow, 15 May 2017
Image via Shutterstock
Having a good eye for design isn’t enough to propel you to greater heights—but branding yourself, establishing cliental relationships, and keeping your work safe, will.
Content Marketing Producer at Shutterstock Eleanor Innis has written an article discussing one of the most important things of protecting yourself as a graphic designer: your contract. Without a good contract, it’s possible for you to get the short end of the stick, however professional your client may seem. You also don’t want to scare a potential client off with a 50-page contract, but you’ll still want to cover enough to keep yourself safe.
Read on to find out some of the details you should include in your contract to avoid any unnecessary pain. Read the full article to learn more.
1. Project details
Image by Tony Babel via GIPHY
This part goes without saying, but it’s often overlooked. Even if you and your client fully trust each other, a verbal understanding isn’t enough. The details of your project should be put in writing so that your role and deliverables are apprehensible and won’t get misconstrued.
Innis says, “Establish the overall framework of the project and your responsibilities so that you can decline later if more is asked of you… If the client requested five versions of a logo and then asks for ten once the project is underway, you can return to this section of the design contract to rule that out as additional work.”
While it all seems very time-consuming, the good news is that this section can be done up more quickly than you think. This veteran web designer has mastered the art of completing an entire web design proposal in under 10 minutes and has shared her technique with everyone.
Your contract should state the maximum number of working hours you’ll put in per week, which includes when your client can contact you during the day.
Add a section about irregular hours and weekends. Will you work during those hours? Does your client have to pay extra if you work over the weekends? How soon can they expect a reply from you?
Image by Groudono via GIPHY
As much as creative professionals hate being constrained by deadlines, they’ll help you stay productive and let your client know when the project will be submitted. It’s also important to allow yourself more time, so you’ll impress your client when the work is completed earlier than the designated date.
4. Responsibilities of the client
Provide a framework of all the things your client should deliver to you, and when. It’s also essential to define the chain of command on the client’s end so that you won’t risk getting caught in a misunderstanding as the designer.
Include all terms of communication and decision-making, especially if your primary contact isn’t the one making the decisions.
What about last minute changes? If there’s a spelling mistake, how much time should a client take to inform you? Innis adds, “Include your pricing for any extra work or requests of this nature that are sent your way after the project is completed. Some graphic designers don’t mind making tweaks after the final product is submitted, but that does not mean you should be required to do so.”
Find out what else you should include in your contract over at Shutterstock.
[via Shutterstock, images via various sources]
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