What To Put In Your Contract
Creating contracts is a vital part of becoming a professional graphic designer. You should use our Graphic Design Contract Template of course, but if you can’t afford it right at this moment we’ll give you some tips on writing them yourself. However, once your career and reputation develops you should certainly consider seeking a professional legal contract writing service like our service (or at least use the template).
Contracts can cover you on so many areas, it would be nearly impossible to list everything you should have in one article but we are going to try. This article contains a non-exhaustive list of things to consider when writing your own contracts.
Basic Contract Tips
A well written contract helps you and the client to outline entirely what to expect of one another. You can use it to set a timeframe and milestones. Once you have the contract terms agreed, you both have to sign the contract and then you are ready to begin your work.
Ownership of work is something that every contract should cover. Most graphic designers offer all the rights to the client, although it is worthwhile to have a clause in the contract which allows you to show non-sensitive work in a portfolio.
Down payments are also something you should include in a contract. For longer projects the down payment should be smaller, and more payments should be agreed on a milestone basis. With short or one off contracts, it is more accepted to ask for a 50% upfront payment. This payment protects the designer and alleviates them from financial problems if the project falls through.
Changes and revisions should be discussed with the client and added to the contract. Depending on the project and the time you will be investing, is usually a good idea to limit the amount of free revisions you do for the client. Sometimes you have to do revisions throughout the design process if the client is picky or doesn’t know what they want. Protect your financial status by adding charges for these revisions.
Advanced Contract Tips
As your career develops you will have to update your contracts due to the various nature of freelancing. Always seek professional help at this stage. But do make sure you are completely covered for as many eventualities as possible.
Confidential information and nondisclosure agreements should always be discussed in a controlled environment and think long and hard before undertaking such work. Chances are high that you will be exposed to sensitive information of some clients. Your contract needs to address this and acknowledge that you will keep this information private.
Terminations of contracts happen. Unfortunately, not every client is going to be a joy to work with. And occasionally, due to ego clashes and differences in opinion, the possibility of being fired from a job or falling out with the client does exist. Consider how your exit could take place and add this to your contract. Think about work that needs to be finished before you leave, or if you just want the option to completely stop all work the moment it becomes necessary.