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Branding Contract Template
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What is a Branding Contract?


A branding contract is a document that states the branding services provided by an independent contractor to a client. It’s where you outline all of the work you’ll be doing, the time it’ll take, and the fees you’ll charge. It also states the applicable law for the contract if there’s a breach by either party.

Put simply, a branding contract is the most important document in any branding-related business relationship. It essentially outlines the terms and conditions of the agreement, and provides details on conflict resolution in the event there’s a disagreement or misunderstanding.  

Providing a professional and comprehensive legally-vetted contract highlights the quality of freelancer you are. It proves that you're able to legitimize your business, safeguard your payment, and legally protect you and your client. 

All of this protects your reputation—and we know how important this is when it comes to branding. 

A template enables you to save time drafting business documents and ensures you’ve included all the necessary information. This then allows you to focus more time and energy on the things you actually enjoy: your creative branding work!

Note: Ready to get started? Sign up to Bonsai to use our free branding contract template today. Plus, if you’re in need of any other contract templates, you’ll find them here.

What to Include in your Branding Contract 


Now that you understand what a branding contract is, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Although every business relationship is different, the backbone of a contract doesn’t change—especially since this is a legally binding agreement and some details must be included.

What exactly should you include in your branding contract:

  • Parties’ details
  • Definitions
  • Scope of work
  • Deliverables and milestones
  • Feedback and approval processes
  • Payment terms and tax documentation
  • Intellectual property
  • Limitation of purpose
  • Non-exclusivity
  • Confidentiality agreements
  • Termination
  • Dispute resolution

We’ll now explain each of these sections in detail.

Bonsai top tip: If you want to know more about the specifics of writing a contract—including how to pull it all together—head over to how to write a contract page to learn the ins and outs of contracts and agreements.

Party’s details

Since a contract is a legally binding document, the first thing you need to do is define who this document is binding. Who is the service provider, the client, or any other party involved? It’s also important to state whether the client represents themselves or a legal entity.

To clearly state who the parties are, you need to include their legal name, business address, email address, and sometimes even include personal or tax ID numbers. This is the legal information needed if any legal action needs to be taken against one party. 

Definitions

tips on creating a branding contract

As with any legal document, you want to make sure everyone is on the same page. By providing the terms that you'll be using and their legal definitions, you're ensuring that all the parties agree on what’s about to be discussed. 

Additionally, when searching for the definitions and terms that you'll use, you need to make sure that they follow the governing law of your state, country, and industry. It's not the same writing a contract for design services in Colombia as it is writing one for marketing services in Hungary. 

Ensure that you understand your country and industry requirements in a contract. 

Scope of work

This section makes sure everyone is clear on what you, the branding expert, will be providing as part of your services. The scope of the project describes how you’ll go about achieving the aims and objectives of the project, and how you’ll meet the client’s wishes.

This section is super important—it’s where you get your teeth stuck into the project and its requirements. Here you're defining the offer—this information is what the client agrees to or rejects when signing the contract. Of course, there is the rest of the contract, but this is one of the most important bits.

Deliverables and milestones

Once you've been clear about the project's objectives and the services you'll perform, now it’s time to provide a detailed description of the deliverables and milestones. This will help you deliver the project in a timely manner.

Branding projects—and creative projects in general—aren't always easy when it comes to  pinpointing a specific set of deliverables. Mainly because most of the time, the people who hire the creatives don't really understand the nooks and crannies of the work at hand. 

Some business owners believe that the brand identity can be developed by spending a few minutes in photoshop. The reality is: that couldn't be further from the truth. 

Creative projects and such services take time. As a freelancer, you should be able to estimate the delivery times of your services and the main milestones of your project. This way both you and the other party agree on the set timeline for deliverables and won't have any problems further down the road. 

Feedback and approval processes

There’s nothing worse than starting a job that you think will last a few months, only to have to deal with endless revisions and feedback. 

You avoid this by being extremely detailed on the deliverables and milestones, and by stating the feedback and approval processes during the project. 

How many revisions will you allow? How should the feedback be given to you? How much time does your client have to request changes? All of this information is important for a transparent and smooth project. 

It gives you the peace of mind of knowing that there’s a clear end-point to the project. 

Payment terms and tax documentation

add a detailed payment details on your contract

Once the parties know what is being agreed on, you need to make sure you’re getting paid for your hard work! 

Here you specify payment details:

  • Which methods are available?
  • When are payments expected? 
  • Does the client need to pay upfront? 
  • Does the client pay once everything has been delivered or approved? 
  • Are there any special rates for work outside of the scope of the contract? 

It’s best to receive prior written consent of the payment methods and amounts—there’s no point spending time crafting a contract that the client will immediately reject due to the payment terms. Make sure the client acknowledges and accepts the payment schedule and knows when and how final payment is due.

Bonsai top tip: Use a service quotation template to discuss payment details for such services before signing the contract. 

Intellectual property

Most creative work requires decisions to be made surrounding intellectual property rights and copyrights. 

Usually, when you're developing a client's brand and identity, you withhold the copyrights of your designs until the work has been completed and paid in full. Once you've finished the project, you'd normally assign the copyrights and trademark to the client. 

Although this is how it typically works, you need to state this as clearly as possible for it to 100% apply to your contract. Otherwise, clients might feel uneasy about final ownership and IP—it’s essential that you clarify it’ll end up as their exclusive property upon project completion. 

Limitation of purpose

Branding is all about consistency and the right use of creative work. This is why you might need to add a clause about the limitation of purpose stating how your work should be presented and used. 

You might also wish to resign liability in case the images, logo, or other branding elements are used inappropriately by the client. You don’t want to be held accountable for any client issues.

Non-exclusivity

When you add a non-exclusivity clause to a contract, you're making sure that you, as a freelancer, can continue to do other work with other companies during the period that the contract is active. You agree to work with them, but not only for them.

Of course, this might depend on how you're planning on working with them, but it's always something good to think about adding. 

Confidentiality agreement

Branding is all about awareness and brand recognition. However, this doesn't mean that your client would like you to share their trade secrets or discuss their project—or even brand—with others. Make sure you and your client understand what needs to be kept confidential during the project's timeline. 

Also, ensure you're stating when this confidentiality will come to an end—you might like to include their logo or testimonials on your page for marketing purposes. If confidentiality continues after the project is done, you might not be able to do so. 

Discuss how confidential information will be handled with the client and consider this clause on a case-by-case basis.

Termination

What constitutes the end of the project? State whether it ends when the project is completed, whether there is a due date, or if a written notice could be provided by either party to terminate the agreement. 

Failing to state when termination is allowed and its different scenarios—whether it is by completion or by breach of contract—can put both parties in a difficult position. Such failure should be avoided in all contracts—not just your branding contracts.

Dispute resolution

Although we all want business relationships to go smoothly from the first handshake to the final round of revisions, this sadly isn’t always the case. 

Problems can arise due to late payments, confidentiality conflicts, or even because of personal disputes among the parties. When this happens, you need to have some guidelines for how to handle the situation.

Of course, you could just impersonate your favorite Hollywood courtroom drama actor and scream, "see you in court!". However, it's better to handle things over a coffee table than a court stand

Ensure your contract states how conflicts can be resolved as quickly and smoothly as possible. Additionally, as both parties sign the agreement before any disputes arise, you increase the chances of an amicable agreement. People are less likely to act up if they’re well aware of the (hefty) consequences of their actions. 

A contract is a document that provides reasonable control to each party over the business relationship's course. Ensure you're covered on all fronts by including the sections and clauses described above—make your contract bulletproof!

Why Use a Branding Contract Template?


Writing a branding contract can take some time as you need to be as detailed and specific as possible—it’s your legal suit of armor, after all. 

This is why using a template can be a lifesaver—you don’t have to start fresh every time you come across a new business relationship. You can just modify your template, and have it ready for signature in a matter of minutes.

A contract is not just a stack of paper you sign. It's the start of a hopefully successful business venture. So, make sure you start with your best foot forward by using a legally-vetted and professional-looking template. 

Benefits of using a branding contract template

Although you could decide to not use a template and spend loads of hours drafting your very own contract—we don’t recommend it. You’ll likely end up wasting your valuable energy and time. Other than saving you time, what else is a branding contract template good for?

Let’s have a look at the biggest benefits of using a contract template:

  • It’s legally bulletproof: if you’re using a template that has been legally vetted by lawyers and contains all the necessary information and terms to protect you legally, you’re on the right track.
  • Highlights your professionalism: as a branding expert you know a thing or two about the impression you leave on the world. If your clients can see that you apply yourself to making every business relationship clear from the get-go, you’re showcasing the best of your professionalism. 
  • Consistency every time: again, as the branding expert that you are, you understand that showing great professionalism won’t work if you only do it once. Being consistent with the work that you do, and the documents that you share with your clients is guaranteed to sustain your good reputation. 

Although you can appreciate the many advantages that using a professional template can bring, you must be aware of what to avoid when creating yours.

Here are three tips we advise you to follow when finding and editing your template:

  • Make sure it is legally vetted: when looking for the right contract for you, make sure you’re using a template that has been approved by lawyers. Most importantly, make sure it works for your state, country, or industry. 
  • Ensure it includes everything you need: as we mentioned above all contracts must include certain sections in order to be bulletproof. Make sure you check that the contract you use includes all of this information and details.
  • Never forget to proofread: resist the temptation to send off your contract without double-checking—you want to know exactly what’s in your contract. 

Creating a Branding Contract is Simple with Bonsai 

Use Bonsai when creating contracts

You’ve just learned what makes a professional and legal branding contract great—now all you have to do is create one. 

Bonsai provides a wide variety of contracts and other key templates for your business—invoices, quotations, proposals, etc. You name it—Bonsai has it. 

The best part is that Bonsai templates are 100% customizable, allowing for a more personal delivery and approach. This allows you to:

  • Modify sections
  • Add online payment options
  • Schedule a send-out date 
  • Use a previously used contract as a new template
  • Add your brand’s logo, color palette, and typography

Simply download, edit, and sign to get started—sign up today to join the 500,000+ freelancers and SMBs that already love Bonsai.

Branding Contract FAQs


Do you really need a branding contract?

Absolutely! All the work you do is valuable, and as such, you need to protect it. By having a bulletproof contract—like the one you can create when using Bonsai's templates—you're making sure to protect all your hard work. 

What should a branding contract include?

Although a contract can include much more than the bare minimum, there’s a contract backbone you should aim to include.

Your contract should include:

  • Parties details
  • Definitions
  • Scope of work
  • Deliverables and milestones
  • Feedback and approval processes
  • Payment terms and tax documentation
  • Intellectual property
  • Limitation of purpose
  • Non-exclusivity
  • Confidentiality agreements
  • Termination
  • Dispute resolution

Thankfully, all of this important information is already included when using one of Bonsai's contract templates—whether it is for branding or any other. All you'll need to do is edit it, proofread the entire agreement, and send it out!


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