Graphic Design Retainer Contract Template


Customize this

Graphic Design Retainer Contract Template

in minutes with

Bonsai's free contract generator

Graphic Design Retainer Contract Template

Save time & money—create a contract with Bonsai

Here's how it works:

1. Pick one of our lawyer approved templates
2. Add your terms with our step by step editing process
3. Sign the contact with our e-signature feature, then send it out

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Bonsai has helped create 151,954 contracts and counting

start with this template

The simplest way to create a legally sound contract. Check out an example below


contract templates

Create your own

Graphic Design Retainer Contract Template

Securing your account...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Create your own

Graphic Design Retainer Contract Template

with a bulletproof template & simple e-signing

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Graphic Design Retainer Contract TemplateGraphic Design Retainer Contract Template

Bonsai has helped create 151,954 contracts and counting

"I did a lot of research before switching to Bonsai from another service. The ability to send and sign contracts was a game changer for me. No one else offers such a seamless process from proposal to contract to invoice. It has saved me a lot of time and lets me focus on creative work."
Kevin Tudball
Create a contract

Save time

with simple contracts & invoices

Protect yourself

from late payments & scope creep

Get peace of mind

with a standard & transparent process

Bonsai handles the back office.
You focus on the work you love.

How it works

Choose a contract

from a library of vetted, plain English templates

Select your terms

and fully customize them based on your needs

Sign electronically

and store securely

Create beautiful invoices

and accept payments worldwide

Do the work you love

Bonsai handles the back office

One of the best tools a consultant can use to retain long-term graphic design jobs is by using the graphic design retainer contract template skillfully. Having a retainer agreement with clients allows graphic designers the chance to work closely with their clients, assisting them in developing their initiatives.

At times a company you are working for may realize they need your services ever so often and may approach you to sign a graphic design retainer agreement. As a consultant on graphic design, you may also initiate a retainer agreement if the business you are working for is willing to sign one. Learn how to make use of the retainer agreement to secure future work from your regular clients.

The client who chooses to work with you using a graphic design retainer contract template pays you at regular intervals in exchange for your consultant graphic design services. The payment could be weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly depending on the nature of the work. The retainer ensures consistency to the client ensuring that the freelancer gets a steady flow of income.

This tool is also important to settle any disputes and grievances that may arise in the course of the project. A concise, well-drafted and professional graphic design retainer contract is a good way of establishing a profitable and long-lasting practice.

Graphic design retainer agreements come with some advantages:

  • Allows you to plan ahead
  • It will enable you to allocate time and headspace for the clients
  • You can be with your clients through the journey
  • You will have a regular source of cash!

1. Selling the graphic design retainer contract to the client

It's very common for first-time clients to shy away from signing design retainer examples because of various reasons. They may have had bad experiences previously, or they are new to the idea and are not too sure about committing immediately.

However, this should not worry you so much as it can be turned around. You might worry more about how you calculate your graphic designer tax deductions. With a good set of skills and a great offer, you still have the opportunity to convince such a client otherwise. Clients love the idea of having someone they can depend on whenever certain services are required.

One of the best ways of selling the idea of graphic design retainer agreement is by ensuring that your work speaks for itself. If you can get the client to sign a one-time deal, then this single gig will be your greatest sales pitch for getting a retainer agreement signed.

This one single gig can turn out to be the key that opens doors to many graphic design retainer contract templates. This can be used as a portfolio that your prospective clients can use to gauge your skills.

Graphic Design Retainer Contract Template
Image Credits:

2. Selling value vs selling time in your graphic design retainer agreement

For clients, the time spent on a project doesn't necessarily mean that the value will reflect the time input. This point is where the idea of charging hourly fees meets the concept of charging a cyclic design retainer example.

Think of what suits you best before settling on the type of retainer you want to use with your client. You could either choose the pay work retainer, where you get paid for the amount of work done or the pay for access retainer, where you are paid for your expertise.

If you can convince the client that your work is determined by your expertise and not how many hours are spent, then they may agree to sign a graphic design retainer agreement. Charging hourly guarantees the client that you "showed up."

For example, when you are getting the client to agree to sign a graphic design retainer agreement, you can use the following tactics:

  • Schedule regular meetings, for example, every two weeks allowing or proper conversation throughout the project.
  • If possible, allow your meetings to extend slightly longer, like an hour extra so that the client will not feel rushed during the sessions.
  • You are accessible for questions and light-touch support. If the client feels stuck, you are available for them at no extra cost.
  • Since some months will be more intense than others, the total of allocated hours will average out over time.
  • If at all anything feels like its going off-course, your clients can access you at any time.

When the client understands that the above benefits will apply when you charge a graphic designer retainer example, they will gladly accept since you are providing more than just the tangible product. They will understand that they will gain from your expertise more than if they purchased a product in a one-off deal.

Ensure that your client understands that they need you to make the work easier. This could be by offering expert advice that sustains the project that you have worked and pitching ideas that could make it better with time.

The client will not hesitate to lock you down with a retainer agreement if they understand that your work schedule can get so busy and lock them out of accessing you. With the retainer agreement, you are promising the client access to your expertise and knowledge anytime need arises. The client understands that having someone on a contract is important to save them time when they are in need. No interviews required all they call you and you are available for some graphic design work. The advantages go both ways.

Graphic Design Retainer Contract Template Sample
Image Credits:

3. Talking about money in your graphic design retainer contract template

The money conversation should come up naturally. If you make it one of your first agendas, the client will feel rushed and probably shy off.

It is easier to close a deal if you show the client that by hiring you there would be a direct increase to the number of sales. That means that your pricing should be based on the value of the services you are offering. Make sure the client understands the Return on Investment (ROI) they are making with you.

Whether you talk about money on the first or last meeting, you should let it come naturally. If the client prompts, the better it is for you. If your next agenda is to discuss the payment, then bring it up with confidence and explain to them the benefits they stand to gain.

The last thing you want to do is to come across like you are not sure you deserve what you are asking for. You may be surprised the client is willing to offer more than you were bargaining for if you would just show them that your services will have a direct positive impact on their business.

Get to know the project in detail to help you understand the possible cost that you may incur during the project. You don’t want to overestimate or underestimate the pricing of the project. Once you have the total cost, including your fees and give the client the total. The total should be worked out as a percentage of the profit your services will bring in.

4. Deliver value using your graphic design retainer contract template

From the first meeting, the goal is to sell value. If possible, get right to the context and challenges, and try to help the client. Having a great first impression, in terms of the quality of work delivered, will help you win the heart of the client and the graphic design retainer contract template.

This way, you will be demonstrating the value. As the pitching process matures and you successfully get to sign the contracts, you will have won yourself another long-term client. This means that you will have a long-term opportunity to earn from your expertise.

Delivering value requires that you get to know the client well and the project they are signing you up for.

The greatest challenge with a graphic design job is transferring the client’s ideas to the actual work. When you master the art of understanding your clients and their ideas, you will be on a good path to success. This means that before embarking on the first project with any client, get to know exactly what they are looking for. You can schedule a one on one session or phone call meetings.

Note that the design retainer example will only be convincing to the client when the initial work is impressive. Therefore the first step is to identify potential long term clients and get them to hire for some graphic design work. Put in your best in this job and make it as impressive as possible. If you manage to impress your client, you will be able to talk them into putting you on a contract with much ease.

5. How to write a graphic design retainer agreement template

A retainer contract will not only help you with a constant flow of income but also schedule your workload. Freelancing on graphic design can get quite tough with the inconsistency of work and consequently income. To plan ahead and give yourself an edge on the way you work, you need to start thinking of using these retainer agreements. Thinking of drafting one for a client? Here are a few elements that you need to include when drafting your graphic design retainer contract. 

5.1. Scope of work 

Give a brief on what services you will be offering the client if they sign the retainer contract.

5.2. Fees 

Highlight the cost the client will be incurred while making use of your services. These may include fees directly linked to the hours spent doing the work, projected communications with the client and transportation charges. The latter fees, however, depends on the agreement that the client has with the consultant. 

5.3. Payment 

The contract should give the details of the payment methods and your preferred payment schedule. The schedule might, however, be subject to further discussions by the client considering they may have special preferences as well. 

5.4. The time span of the graphic design retainer contract

Write down the expected length of time the project should take. Give the expectations and mention any factors that can lead to delays. 

5.5. Termination of the project or the contract

The contract should detail the factors that can lead to the termination of the contract. In here the details of how and when the project should be terminated are highlighted. 

Your proposal of a retainer contract must be well-timed. If you do it too early, you risk spooking off the client by seeming desperate. The best time to launch a request for a retainer is when you have successfully delivered a graphic design consulting project. Your project could up earning the client more customers if you do it just right. The better the results the more the client would not hesitate to hire you as long as they need the services. 

A good foresight is required when drafting the contract so as to avoid future hiccups due to over or underestimation. Keep in mind that the retainer is a legal and binding contract, so you have to be extra cautious about what you put down. Take your time to do research, if need be, on what is required to accomplish that specific graphic design work.

6. How to make a creative agency retainer agreement template

You are confident of your brand-building skills and know that you can grow your creative agency by getting into a retainer agreement with clients. Everything is under control, and yet you are unable to proceed with an assignment because there is no legal contract? 

As a freelancer, it would be frustrating knowing that you have the potential to increase your revenue but can't finalize a deal because you don't have a creative agency retainer agreement template. But the million-dollar question is, where do you start?

Just like everything else, the obvious choice seems to be to use Google to find a template and then modify it according to your specific requirements.

An agreement needs to be carefully drafted, including all the clauses so that the interests of you and the customer are protected.

Graphic Design Retainer Contract Template Example
Image credits:

While an online resource seems a good place to start, there are some do's and don'ts when it comes to preparing a contract which we will share with you.

6.1. Appointment as a design agency retainer agreement

The fact that you have been retained by the client for providing freelancing advertising services has to be mentioned in this section of the creative agency retainer agreement template. You should agree to provide the services given in this agreement. If there are additional services, then those will be negotiated mutually before being added to this agreement.

6.2. Advertising services covered by the graphic design retainer contract

You should mention the list of advertising services you will provide in the creative agency retainer agreement template. Whether you are providing internet marketing, website design, newspaper ads, or billboard advertisements. Defining the scope of the services is important to avoid disputes later on. 

6.3. Monthly creative agency retainer agreement

The monthly retainer that the client will pay to you as a consultant should be included in the creative agency retainer agreement template. The client could pay you on a monthly basis or at the end of the project. 

6.4. Intellectual property in a agency retainer contract

All the creative work that you produce as part of the client's advertising campaign would be the exclusive property of the client. As a creative freelance agency, you have no right to this work. 

6.5. Sole agreement

The services which you provide as part of this creative agency retainer agreement template will not be clubbed with any additional services which the client requires from you. Any additional services will require an addendum or an additional agreement.

Graphic Design Retainer Contract Template PDF
Image credits:

6.6. Payment due date on your agency retainer agreement

You will have to mention the due dates in the creative agency retainer agreement template by which the client needs to pay the retainer, including late fees for any delays

6.7. Applicable law governing your graphic design retainer agreement template

The state where the agreement will be registered will have certain laws relating to the advertising industry. If the agreement is violated, then the laws of the state will be applicable, and the decision of the arbitrator will be final and binding. 

6.8. The agency retainer agreement needs acceptance from both parties

There should be enough space left at the bottom of the creative agency retainer agreement template where both you as a freelancing creative agency and the client will have to sign. This section is extremely important as it will create a contractual obligation for both you and the client. This also indicates that both of you have understood and accepted all terms and conditions given in the freelance agreement. 

Take your creative agency to the next level

When creating the template for an agreement for your creative agency, it is important that all relevant information relating to your discussion with the client is included. This will avoid any confusion later on. While negotiations with the client are not a problem, the client should not be allowed to make too many changes.

Create a winning freelance template and improve your revenues!



contract templates

Create your own

Graphic Design Retainer Contract Template

Securing your account...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.