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Design Service Agreement

If you provide a professional design service, you will need a couple of documents to make your everyday business seamless and secure. Besides your design abilities, you'd have to handle some paperwork, including invoicing and drafting service agreements. Sometimes, a client may present you with a service agreement that defines your business relationship with his/her organization. Design professionals know and hear about signing a service agreement for every job and writing effective statements of work.

But the question is, what exactly should they sign? In this article, we’d cover the basics of a design service agreement and what it must contain before you append your signature. Also, you should know if the content of the agreement is reasonable enough to commit yourself to the agreement. And if you are planning to draft yours, we'll take you through the guideline on how to come up with a solid proposal. 

Image Credits: cloudlegalsupport.com

A design service agreement is an important business document that defines business relationships, roles, and compensation of an agreement. You should understand the document 100% before writing or signing one. We will discuss the agreement or contract types for a consultant or freelance designer.

A web design service agreement is nothing but a document that defines the code production, job scope, compensation, and terms of work between a client and a designer. Creating this type of agreement involves repeating the content of your proposal plus other details you've agreed on with a client.

It is worth being detailed in this type of design service agreement to clarify the goals and objectives of the project. Also, consider adding necessary clauses to avoid multiple reworks after completion. If you specify the limit of revisions permitted, subsequent revision requests automatically trigger your hourly charge. 

If you work with XHTML or the HTML makeup templates, consider using HTML5 markup and CSS3 for styling and give room for testing and acceptance before launching.

Every design service agreement will cover the following information:

  • Overview of client and the designer. This section includes the information of the participants, why the client is hiring the designer, when and for who much.
  • Scope of work and the responsibilities of each participant.
  • What happens if a party decides to withdraw from the agreement?
  • A section that takes care of liabilities, intellectual property right and legal.
Image Credits: yumpu.com

If what you do is graphics other than coding, the format above also applies to your design service agreement. But in your case, there is more focus on graphic arts and sections that deal with you retaining as many rights as possible to your creation. Negotiate with the client and agree on ownership rights of intellectual properties created during the business relationship.

Sometimes, design service agreement take the form of independent service agreements. In this case, the operational part of the document (usually a milestone, SOW, compensation, etc.) remains the same, but the document usually includes intellectual property assignment. This type of design service agreement is particular to freelancers and independent consultants that create intellectual properties and patent technologies.

The section here is different from the licensing flexibility that we discussed above, which is client-specific. Another type of service agreement that an independent may come across is the "work-for-hire" agreement. Creative professionals like freelance designers and writers use this agreement to license their work by separating it from what a client has paid for. 

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