Friday, March 31, 2023

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

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

A graphic design contract does simply that, and helps to forge higher relationships between you and your purchasers consequently. Learn on to search out out precisely what options needs to be included in a graphic design contract, and simply how one can shield you, and your purchasers, within the occasion that one thing goes mistaken.

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 consumer.

Not like company or in-house graphic designers, freelancers don’t benefit from 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 way of the usage of a graphic design contract.

The graphic design contract will put in writing what work is predicted of the designer, the timescale through which it’s to be accomplished, what number of revisions it’s acceptable for the consumer 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 often be drawn up by the freelance graphic designer, and needs to be agreed upon and signed by each the designer and the consumer previous to work commencing on a undertaking.

What Each Graphic Design Contract Should Embody

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


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

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It will typically be based mostly largely upon any undertaking proposal that was submitted to the consumer, and can embrace particulars about what companies you’ll present because the freelance graphic designer, and what the consumer will likely be supplied with upon completion of the undertaking.

This part of the graphic design contract ensures that you just and the consumer are on the identical web page concerning expectations of the work, and your duties because the designer.


The deliverables part of a graphic design contract is the place the precise particulars of what the consumer will likely be supplied with needs to be listed. All the things that you just’ll present for the consumer as a part of the undertaking needs to be listed right here, in as a lot element as potential.

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This consists of itemizing particulars corresponding to file varieties or design variations. Even the tactic of supply will be said right here, for instance, will the designs be despatched by way of e mail, or delivered on a flash drive?

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


Giving your purchasers the flexibility to request revisions to a undertaking is a good suggestion, because it demonstrates flexibility, and a need to provide work that every one events are glad with. Nonetheless, it’s vital to not grow to be a sufferer of scope creep.

That is when purchasers start to request further work underneath the guise of revisions, that wasn’t included underneath the agreed upon scope of labor. In an effort to assist stop this, you may element precisely what number of revisions you’ll settle for from the consumer underneath the unique scope of labor.

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

graphic design contract

Fee Phrases

Subsequent is the part of the contract which might make many freelancers really feel uncomfortable; the terms of payment. After all, there shouldn’t be something embarrassing about asking for honest cost on your companies, so don’t rush by way of this part out of embarrassment with out giving it the correct time and a spotlight it deserves.

Particulars about when cost is predicted, and what kind it may be made in, needs to be included right here. Sometimes, cost will likely be made earlier than the consumer is shipped the ultimate product.

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

In case you are to be paid in installments, then an in depth cost schedule will also be included. You would additionally embrace particulars of any late charges chances are you’ll 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 must you embrace the deadline for your complete undertaking, but additionally for every section of the undertaking alongside the way in which.

These particulars won’t solely give your consumer the peace of thoughts of figuring out 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’s best to hopefully scale back the cases through which a consumer 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 consumer, and also you because the graphic designer, may 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 consumer’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 consumer will seemingly fall underneath one in every of these:

  • License for Restricted Utilization
    A license for restricted utilization can be utilized to restrict the place and when a consumer can use the work you’ve produced. In some cases, this will help you provide the identical deliverables to a number of purchasers. It’s generally used for work which is comparatively generic, corresponding to editorial illustrations.
  • Unique License
    An unique license is much like a license for restricted utilization, however on this case the deliverables supplied are for the unique use of the unique consumer. This license is usually used for supplies that are particular to a selected consumer, corresponding to advert campaigns.
  • Task of Rights
    An task of rights includes transferring sole possession of the undertaking over to the consumer 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 id, corresponding to emblem or mascot designs.
  • Work-Made-For-Rent
    It is a not often used license sort which signifies that the consumer is robotically seen as the only real copyright proprietor and creator of any deliverables supplied by the freelancer. Work for hire is mostly used if a freelancer is working on-site for a consumer and making use of their gear.

Battle of Curiosity

A battle of curiosity clause will be included in a graphic design contract to present the consumer peace of thoughts. It would set up that the freelance graphic designer won’t tackle another purchasers or tasks that might create a possible battle of curiosity with their current clients, and be detrimental to their enterprise pursuits.

Termination Clauses

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

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

A termination clause must also element who owns the copyright over any work which is already full on the time of cancellation, and whether or not the consumer 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 various freelance contract templates accessible on-line which will 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 good instance of a freelance agreement that can assist shield you in your freelance endeavors. It accommodates all the important thing options we coated above that you ought to be searching for in a graphic design contract, alongside further clauses round limitation of legal responsibility, inspection and acceptance, and insurance coverage.

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

Utilizing PandaDoc, you may 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 provides a free 14-day trial, with plans beginning at $19 USD per person monthly.

2. Merely-Docs Freelance Graphic Designer’s Settlement

The Simply-Docs Freelance Graphic Designer’s Agreement 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 consumer.

Customary clauses are included which cowl charges, termination, and mental property, with different much less widespread clauses protecting the self-employment standing of the freelancer, regulation and jurisdiction, and various dispute decision.

Merely-Docs is a UK based mostly firm with entry to all of the paperwork in a particular folder for £35 + VAT per 12 months, (round $40 USD). Folders embrace ‘Employment Paperwork’, ‘Company Paperwork’, and ‘Enterprise Paperwork’, the place the Freelance Graphic Designer’s Settlement will be discovered.

3. Jotform Graphic Designer Contract

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

Utilizing the drag and drop contract builder, visible design modifications will be made, phrases and situations will be up to date, and your individual private emblem will be added.

Jotform provides a free starter plan which lets you create 5 types and make 100 submissions monthly. Paid plans begin at $34 monthly (billed yearly), for 25 types and 1,000 submissions monthly.

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 few of the fancy options provided by a few of the contract technology platforms listed above, it’s an efficient contract nonetheless.

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

5 Explanation why it’s best to at all times use a graphic design contract

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

Fairly than ready for the worst to occur, it’s a good suggestion to be proactive and begin utilizing the apply of contract generation for each undertaking. Listed below are only a few of the advantages to utilizing a graphic design contract as a freelancer.

1. Guarantee You’re Paid Accurately

Some purchasers could also be reluctant to cough up the money you’ve earned by way of your onerous work. Within the unlucky occasion that this does occur, having a graphic design contract signed by your consumer 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 in opposition to purchasers who might attempt to pay solely a part of your price, 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 in opposition to purchasers who attempt to receive further supplies underneath the guise of revisions.

2. Construct Belief

As a artistic, not solely does a freelance contract shield your individual pursuits, but it surely 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 needs to be made, and once they can anticipate 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 reveals that you just’re taking your online business critically, and reassures purchasers that they’ll anticipate their tasks to be accomplished in a well timed method, and to a excessive customary.

15% of these working with freelance designers mentioned 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 scale back the probabilities of purchasers frantically chasing you for updates each couple of days.

It will also be useful to set an finish date on your companies to your purchasers. It will assist shield you within the occasion that purchasers begin chasing you up for revisions months after you’ve submitted your ultimate variations of the deliverables.

4. Stop Scope Creep

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

It’s possible you’ll want to ship some further 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 fame as a freelancer, and will result in repeat work sooner or later. Nonetheless, some purchasers, if given an inch, will take a mile.

A graphic design contract helps shield you in opposition to the danger of tasks consistently rising in scope. By detailing the unique settlement about what work is to be accomplished, and what deliverables will likely be supplied as a part of the completed undertaking, you may shield your self in opposition to purchasers who wish to reap the benefits of 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 haven’t any selection however to cancel a undertaking earlier than completion. A termination clause helps shield you within the occasion that circumstances outdoors your management power you to scale back your workload.

It would additionally shield you within the occasion {that a} consumer decides to half methods with you earlier than a undertaking is full. Shoppers might generally want to go in a special course with a undertaking, doubtlessly with a special graphic designer. A graphic design contract will assist be certain 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 simplest ways to guard your pursuits as a freelancer, and the pursuits of your purchasers.

It would assist to outline the phrases of your partnership, and assist present a schedule that each events can persist with, with regards to 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 gives you peace of thoughts, so you may cease worrying in regards to the phrases of your employment, and concentrate on creating some actually impactful designs as a substitute.

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Millo Articles by Yauhen Zaremba

Written by Yauhen Zaremba

Contributor at

Yauhen is the Director of Demand Technology at PandaDoc, all-in-one doc administration instrument for nearly all sorts of paperwork together with these PandaDoc Illinois bill of sale example. He’s been a marketer for 10+ years, and for the final 5 years, he’s been fully centered 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 almost 20 fishing journeys yearly.

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