Web and Graphic Design Contract Template

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If you are a web or graphic designer working for clients as a freelancer, then you’re going to want to make sure that you are being paid appropriately for your time and talents. This is where a great graphic design contract is going to come in handy.

The only question is: how do you go about writing a clear and professional graphic design contract? That’s where we come in.

Discover how to craft the perfect web and graphic design contract by reading this article, because we’ll cover everything you need to know on the topic.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at:

  • What is a graphic design contract?
  • Advantages of an epic graphic design contract template
  • What to include in a graphic design contract
  • Types of graphic design contracts
  • How to use a graphic design contract example
  • Tips for creating a successful graphic design contract
  • Key takeaways
  • Frequently asked questions.

Let’s go ahead and jump right into it!

What Is a Graphic Design Contract?

First things first: what actually is a graphic design contract? To put it simply, this contract is a legally binding document that outlines the agreement made between a graphic designer and their client.

This contract is tailored for specific needs, describes deliverables and milestones and will include information such as payment details.

Why Do You Need a Freelance Graphic Design Contract?

A graphic design contract is essential for both you, as the designer, and your client. This contract governs the relationship between the client and the designer. It will ensure that both parties understand what content is going to be provided and what payments are to be made in exchange for this content.

Having a clear and professional contract ensures the protection of both the client and the designer and eliminates any confusion regarding payments, deadlines, and output. This is particularly important when it comes to ensuring you are being paid correctly for your work.

Advantages of an Epic Graphic Design Contract Template

Using a graphic design contract template is one of the easiest ways to create a professional contract in no time at all. So, what are the advantages of using a great graphic design contract template? Let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the benefits.

Protecting Intellectual Property

Graphic design, like any form of art and content creation, can be tricky concerning intellectual property. A good graphic design contract template addresses intellectual property rights and will help you detail exactly who owns what in terms of your content.

This can be extremely useful later down the line, should any legal issues arise — or even for determining what work you can use in potential future portfolios.

Ensuring Compensation and Payment Terms

An issue that so many freelancers run into time and time again is not being compensated appropriately for their work. Using a clear graphic design template covers payment terms and will ensure that the client is aware of your rates.

Establishing Deadlines and Deliverables

What exactly are you being hired to design? What does the client expect you to provide them with? By what date and time? Establishing clear deadlines and deliverables is extremely important when it comes to graphic design services.

A successfully prepared contract stipulates the duration of the project, defines the roles and responsibilities of both parties, and details what deliverables are expected, along with their deadlines. This will eliminate any confusion between you and your client surrounding your professional agreement.

Addressing Revisions and Feedback

You want the content that you design for your client to match their vision and be perfect — but when the client is requesting endless alterations and tweaks to be made by you, for no extra pay? That isn’t fair to you.

A graphic design contract template sets the number of revisions allowed and incorporates feedback mechanisms. Here, you can outline the protocol for revisions and feedback, and how any extensive alteration will be compensated. This ensures that both you and the client are on the same page in terms of content revision and payment.

Handling Disputes and Conflict Resolution

Should a dispute arise, you’re going to want something to fall back on. With a template that provides clauses for dispute resolution, you can address conflict that arises without the need for legal action.

A good graphic design contract template will ensure that you are including every essential component that is going to protect you from any legal trouble down the line if a dispute should crop up.

If you’re interested in downloading a free graphic design contract template, you can check out our free template right here!

What to Include in a Graphic Design Contract

So, what specifically do you need to include in your graphic design contract? There are a few components that are essential to create a clear and professional contract. Including this information will help both you and the client understand your responsibilities and obligations.

Client and Designer Details

The first component that you want to include in your graphic design contract is client and designer details. This means documenting the names of both you and your client, and any relevant contact information.

Project Overview and Description

What will the final project look like? What exactly are you expected to provide the client with? An overview and detailed description of the project will eliminate any potential confusion surrounding what your responsibility is and what the project should look like upon completion.

Scope of Services and Deliverables

It’s important to provide a section that outlines the scope of work and specifies the format of final deliverables. Here, include any guidelines that the client has regarding the project, and define exactly what goods or services the client will receive.

Compensation and Payment Terms

Payment is one of the most important components of your graphic design contract. Make sure that you are detailing everything, such as the pricing of any services or deliverables you will provide.

Along with your rates and the final costs of your work, also consider any compensation you may require for materials or other expenses that you may run into when working on this project.

Intellectual Property Rights

You want to make sure that you are protected legally, which means taking special care with the intellectual property rights of your project. Are you able to use the final output of this project in future portfolios? Who legally owns this content once it is complete?

Having clear agreements surrounding intellectual property rights documented on your contract is going to protect you legally further down the line.

Revision and Modification Clauses

You, of course, want to include revision and modification clauses that detail the requirements of both you and the client should any edits need to be made. It is a good idea to include information such as what will be expected of you if the client requests revisions or modifications be made to the project, and what fees these revisions will incur.

Confidentiality Agreement

Most professional services are going to want to ensure the contract details confidentiality agreements. It’s imperative you and your client both understand what actions would breach this agreement to avoid confusion or legal disputes.

Timeline and Milestones

The final deadline for the project is important, but so is a general timeline with clear milestones. This will be extremely beneficial for both you and your client, as you will know what content is to be expected on particular dates.

Types of Graphic Design Contracts

Each graphic design project (and graphic designer) is different, which means that you will need different graphic design contacts depending on what specific work you are doing. Let’s go ahead and look at some of the different types of graphic design contracts.

Freelance/Independent Contractor Agreement

A freelance or independent contractor agreement is one of the most common types of contracts. This contract is highly customizable depending on the project and specific work that you are offering — this usually involves one-off projects.

Retainer Contracts

A retainer contract is used when you are committing to a long-term agreement with a client and offering your services for a set amount of time. For example, you may sign a contract where you agree to work ten hours per week for a client. You will then be paid this hourly rate every week and complete tasks that the client assigns you during this time.

Alternatively, you may agree to design a certain amount of content per week. Say a company sends out a weekly newsletter — you may be hired to design one per week. A retainer contract is a great way to take on repeat jobs such as this, without you having to send out a one-time contract every single week.

Licensing Agreement

A licensing agreement focuses on content ownership and issues of intellectual property. This type of contract details how and when the client can earn revenue from the content that you created. It will also outline what sort of payment you will receive for this, whether it be a one-off payment or recurring royalties.

Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

Some clients may require you to sign a non-disclosure agreement before you take on a project. This agreement typically involves you signing a contract stating that you will not reveal information surrounding this project to anyone.

This may be required for a variety of reasons — generally, it is because the client does not want the general public to know about their project before its official release. This type of contract also determines the termination conditions in case you break the agreement.

Work-for-Hire Agreement

Occasionally, a client will request a work-for-hire agreement. This is an agreement that ensures the content you provide is only to be used by the client that you created it for. This contract eliminates the possibility that you will sell the content that you created for your client to a third party at a later date.

How to Use a Graphic Design Contract Template

So, you’ve sat down to create your graphic design contract — where exactly do you start? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Let’s go over how to create a clear and professional graphic design contract.

Selecting the Right Template

One of the most important steps when it comes to creating a great graphic design contract is selecting the right template. You want a template that is clear, easy to customize, and covers all of the essential components.

You can download our Graphic Design Contract Template now to simplify your design projects and guarantee clarity in your client collaborations.

Customization to Specific Needs

Once you have selected your graphic design contract template, you will need to customize it to suit your specific needs. This means filling in all of the required fields with you and your client's information and adding or removing relevant (or irrelevant) sections.

Detailing Project Scope and Deliverables

One of the key sections of the graphic design contract to take special care with is the project scope and deliverables. Detail what output is expected from you and what the project will look like as a whole. This way, it’s clear what is expected from both sides of the partnership.

Clarifying Payment Terms and Schedules

The next aspect of your graphic design contract to consider is payment terms and schedules. This is where you will detail the agreed-upon rate for your work, and what the schedule will look like for both the project and the payments.

Defining Intellectual Property Rights

Finally, the contract must address the intellectual property rights of the content produced within the project. This states who will own the rights to any work produced for the project while under contract. What this looks like depends on the agreements made between you and the client, but this information must be documented clearly.

Tips for Creating a Successful Graphic Design Contract

Wanting to craft a perfect graphic design contract that will seal the deal with prospective clients? Well, get prepared to flex your skills as this is the perfect time to show off your artistic streak and demonstrate your design skills. Need some tips on how to make sure it’s professional and of a high standard? We’ve got you covered.

Understand Client Needs and Expectations

Understanding exactly what your client is looking for and what they expect of you is essential to eliminate confusion and potential revision requests. Make sure that the client's expectations of your content and deadline are outlined clearly in the contract.

Be Clear and Specific

Every piece of information included in your graphic design contract should be clear and specific. This greatly lessens the likelihood of miscommunications between you and the client — should a dispute arise, a clear and specific contract will often get it sorted out promptly.

Use Simple and Understandable Language

Readability is vital when it comes to contracts and agreements, so use simple language that everyone can understand. Being professional is important, but there is no need to go overboard with complex language. Keep it simple and clear!

Include Comprehensive Payment Details

One of the key purposes of a contract is to ensure that you are paid appropriately for your services. A good contract includes a breakdown of fees and charges, with comprehensive payment details that have been agreed upon by both you and your client.

Set Boundaries for Revisions and Alterations

If a client is constantly requesting extensive revisions and alterations to be made, you’re going to want to make sure you are either compensated for this or have a strict limit to how many revisions can be made. This will ensure you are not completing a whole lot of extra work for the client that you are not being paid for.

Address Copyrights and Licensing Explicitly

Copyright and licensing can be a complex matter when it comes to creative projects — your contract is the document that clarifies credit and attribution expectations explicitly to avoid future misunderstandings.

Key Takeaways

At the end of the day, your graphic design contract is essential to ensuring you and your client are on the same page. One of the best and easiest ways to create one that is going to be clear, professional, and will cover all your bases, is by utilizing a graphic design contract template.

Hello Bonsai has incredible contract templates for every project — all you need to do is select the right one for you and customize it to fit your specifications. Maybe you venture out beyond graphic design, we have templates for video production, illustration, and even logo design.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have a few questions surrounding graphic design contracts? Don’t worry, we’ve got answers. Let’s go over some frequently asked questions regarding graphic design contracts.

Does a Graphic Designer Really Need a Contract?

Yes, a graphic designer needs some form of contract when taking on a project. This will ensure that they are paid appropriately and that there are no misunderstandings between them and the client.

Can I Use a Free Graphic Design Contract Template?

Yes, a free graphic design contract template is a great jumping-off point when it comes to creating your contract as it can be customized for different projects. Just make sure that you are editing it to suit your specifications and including all of the required information.

Will One Freelance Design Contract Work for All of My Design Services?

While one freelance design contract can work for multiple projects, there will likely be situations where you need a different contract that is specific to the job or agreement. Make sure that you are doing your research and picking the best contract for your situation.

Frequently Asked Questions
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Web and Graphic Design Contract Template

Design Contract Template

First Name
Last Name
Acme LLC.
First Name
Last Name
Corporation Corp.

This Contract is between Client (the "Client") and Acme LLC (the "Designer").

The Contract is dated [DATE BOTH PARTIES SIGN].


1.1 Project. The Client is hiring the Designer to do the following: Building a design wireframe for the cms

1.2 Schedule. The Designer will begin work on December 09, 2022 and will continue until the work is completed. This Contract can be ended by either Client or Designer at any time, pursuant to the terms of Section 6, Term and Termination.

1.3 Payment. The Client will pay the Designer a rate of [PROJECT RATE]per hour. Of this, the Client will pay the Designer [DEPOSIT AMOUNT] before work begins.

1.4 Expenses. The Client will reimburse the Designer's expenses. Expenses do not need to be pre-approved by the Client.

1.5 Invoices. The Designer will invoice the Client every two weeks. The Client agrees to pay the amount owed within 15 days of receiving the invoice. Payment after that date will incur a late fee of [LATE FEE PERCENTAGE]% per month on the outstanding amount.

1.6 Support. The Designer will not provide support for any deliverable once the Client accepts it, unless otherwise agreed in writing.


2.1 Client Owns All Work Product. As part of this job, the Designer is creating “work product” for the Client. To avoid confusion, work product is the finished product, as well as drafts, notes, materials, mockups, hardware, designs, inventions, patents, code, and anything else that the Designer works on—that is, conceives, creates, designs, develops, invents, works on, or reduces to practice—as part of this project, whether before the date of this Contract or after. The Designer hereby gives the Client this work product once the Client pays for it in full. This means the Designer is giving the Client all of its rights, titles, and interests in and to the work product (including intellectual property rights), and the Client will be the sole owner of it. The Client can use the work product however it wants or it can decide not to use the work product at all. The Client, for example, can modify, destroy, or sell it, as it sees fit.

2.2 Designer’s Use Of Work Product. Once the Designer gives the work product to the Client, the Designer does not have any rights to it, except those that the Client explicitly gives the Designer here. The Client gives permission to use the work product as part of portfolios and websites, in galleries, and in other media, so long as it is to showcase the work and not for any other purpose. The Client does not give permission to sell or otherwise use the work product to make money or for any other commercial use. The Client is not allowed to take back this license, even after the Contract ends.

2.3 Designer’s Help Securing Ownership. In the future, the Client may need the Designer’s help to show that the Client owns the work product or to complete the transfer. The Designer agrees to help with that. For example, the Designer may have to sign a patent application. The Client will pay any required expenses for this. If the Client can’t find the Designer, the Designer agrees that the Client can act on the Designer’s behalf to accomplish the same thing. The following language gives the Client that right: if the Client can’t find the Designer after spending reasonable effort trying to do so, the Designer hereby irrevocably designates and appoints the Client as the Designer’s agent and attorney-in-fact, which appointment is coupled with an interest, to act for the Designer and on the Designer’s behalf to execute, verify, and file the required documents and to take any other legal action to accomplish the purposes of paragraph 2.1 (Client Owns All Work Product).

2.4 Designer’s IP That Is Not Work Product. During the course of this project, the Designer might use intellectual property that the Designer owns or has licensed from a third party, but that does not qualify as “work product.” This is called “background IP.” Possible examples of background IP are pre-existing code, type fonts, properly-licensed stock photos, and web application tools. The Designer is not giving the Client this background IP. But, as part of the Contract, the Designer is giving the Client a right to use and license (with the right to sublicense) the background IP to develop, market, sell, and support the Client’s products and services. The Client may use this background IP worldwide and free of charge, but it cannot transfer its rights to the background IP (except as allowed in Section 11.1 (Assignment)). The Client cannot sell or license the background IP separately from its products or services. The Designer cannot take back this grant, and this grant does not end when the Contract is over.

2.5 Designer’s Right To Use Client IP. The Designer may need to use the Client’s intellectual property to do its job. For example, if the Client is hiring the Designer to build a website, the Designer may have to use the Client’s logo. The Client agrees to let the Designer use the Client’s intellectual property and other intellectual property that the Client controls to the extent reasonably necessary to do the Designer’s job. Beyond that, the Client is not giving the Designer any intellectual property rights, unless specifically stated otherwise in this Contract.


The Designer won’t work for a competitor of the Client until this Contract ends. To avoid confusion, a competitor is any third party that develops, manufactures, promotes, sells, licenses, distributes, or provides products or services that are substantially similar to the Client’s products or services. A competitor is also a third party that plans to do any of those things. The one exception to this restriction is if the Designer asks for permission beforehand and the Client agrees to it in writing. If the Designer uses employees or subcontractors, the Designer must make sure they follow the obligations in this paragraph, as well.


Until this Contract ends, the Designer won’t: (a) encourage Client employees or service providers to stop working for the Client; (b) encourage Client customers or clients to stop doing business with the Client; or (c) hire anyone who worked for the Client over the 12-month period before the Contract ended. The one exception is if the Designer puts out a general ad and someone who happened to work for the Client responds. In that case, the Designer may hire that candidate. The Designer promises that it won’t do anything in this paragraph on behalf of itself or a third party.


5.1 Overview. This section contains important promises between the parties.

5.2 Authority To Sign. Each party promises to the other party that it has the authority to enter into this Contract and to perform all of its obligations under this Contract.

5.3 Designer Has Right To Give Client Work Product. The Designer promises that it owns the work product, that the Designer is able to give the work product to the Client, and that no other party will claim that it owns the work product. If the Designer uses employees or subcontractors, the Designer also promises that these employees and subcontractors have signed contracts with the Designer giving the Designer any rights that the employees or subcontractors have related to the Designer’s background IP and work product.

5.4 Designer Will Comply With Laws. The Designer promises that the manner it does this job, its work product, and any background IP it uses comply with applicable U.S. and foreign laws and regulations.

5.5 Work Product Does Not Infringe. The Designer promises that its work product does not and will not infringe on someone else’s intellectual property rights, that the Designer has the right to let the Client use the background IP, and that this Contract does not and will not violate any contract that the Designer has entered into or will enter into with someone else.

5.6 Client Will Review Work. The Client promises to review the work product, to be reasonably available to the Designer if the Designer has questions regarding this project, and to provide timely feedback and decisions.

5.7 Client-Supplied Material Does Not Infringe. If the Client provides the Designer with material to incorporate into the work product, the Client promises that this material does not infringe on someone else’s intellectual property rights.


This Contract is ongoing until the work is completed. Either party may end this Contract for any reason by sending an email or letter to the other party, informing the recipient that the sender is ending the Contract and that the Contract will end in 7 days. The Contract officially ends once that time has passed. The party that is ending the Contract must provide notice by taking the steps explained in Section 11.4. The Designer must immediately stop working as soon as it receives this notice, unless the notice says otherwise. The Client will pay the Designer for the work done up until when the Contract ends and will reimburse the Designer for any agreed-upon, non-cancellable expenses. The following sections don’t end even after the Contract ends: 2 (Ownership and Licenses); 3 (Competitive Engagements); 4 (Non-Solicitation); 5 (Representations); 8 (Confidential Information); 9 (Limitation of Liability); 10 (Indemnity); and 11 (General).


The Client is hiring the Designer as an independent contractor. The following statements accurately reflect their relationship:

  • The Designer will use its own equipment, tools, and material to do the work.
  • The Client will not control how the job is performed on a day-to-day basis. Rather, the Designer is responsible for determining when, where, and how it will carry out the work.
  • The Client will not provide the Designer with any training.
  • The Client and the Designer do not have a partnership or employer-employee relationship.
  • The Designer cannot enter into contracts, make promises, or act on behalf of the Client.
  • The Designer is not entitled to the Client’s benefits (e.g., group insurance, retirement benefits, retirement plans, vacation days).
  • The Designer is responsible for its own taxes.
  • The Client will not withhold social security and Medicare taxes or make payments for disability insurance, unemployment insurance, or workers compensation for the Designer or any of the Designer’s employees or subcontractors.


8.1 Overview. This Contract imposes special restrictions on how the Client and the Designer must handle confidential information. These obligations are explained in this section.

8.2 The Client’s Confidential Information. While working for the Client, the Designer may come across, or be given, Client information that is confidential. This is information like customer lists, business strategies, research & development notes, statistics about a website, and other information that is private. The Designer promises to treat this information as if it is the Designer’s own confidential information. The Designer may use this information to do its job under this Contract, but not for anything else. For example, if the Client lets the Designer use a customer list to send out a newsletter, the Designer cannot use those email addresses for any other purpose. The one exception to this is if the Client gives the Designer written permission to use the information for another purpose, the Designer may use the information for that purpose, as well. When this Contract ends, the Designer must give back or destroy all confidential information, and confirm that it has done so. The Designer promises that it will not share confidential information with a third party, unless the Client gives the Designer written permission first. The Designer must continue to follow these obligations, even after the Contract ends. The Designer’s responsibilities only stop if the Designer can show any of the following: (i) that the information was already public when the Designer came across it; (ii) the information became public after the Designer came across it, but not because of anything the Designer did or didn’t do; (iii) the Designer already knew the information when the Designer came across it and the Designer didn’t have any obligation to keep it secret; (iv) a third party provided the Designer with the information without requiring that the Designer keep it a secret; or (v) the Designer created the information on its own, without using anything belonging to the Client.

8.3 Third-Party Confidential Information. It’s possible the Client and the Designer each have access to confidential information that belongs to third parties. The Client and the Designer each promise that it will not share with the other party confidential information that belongs to third parties, unless it is allowed to do so. If the Client or the Designer is allowed to share confidential information with the other party and does so, the sharing party promises to tell the other party in writing of any special restrictions regarding that information.


Neither party is liable for breach-of-contract damages that the breaching party could not reasonably have foreseen when it entered this Contract.


10.1 Overview. This section transfers certain risks between the parties if a third party sues or goes after the Client or the Designer or both. For example, if the Client gets sued for something that the Designer did, then the Designer may promise to come to the Client’s defense or to reimburse the Client for any losses.

10.2 Client Indemnity. In this Contract, the Designer agrees to indemnify the Client (and its affiliates and their directors, officers, employees, and agents) from and against all liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) related to a third-party claim or proceeding arising out of: (i) the work the Designer has done under this Contract; (ii) a breach by the Designer of its obligations under this Contract; or (iii) a breach by the Designer of the promises it is making in Section 5 (Representations).

10.3 Designer Indemnity. In this Contract, the Client agrees to indemnify the Designer (and its affiliates and their directors, officers, employees, and agents) from and against liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) related to a third-party claim or proceeding arising out of a breach by the Client of its obligations under this Contract.


11.1 Assignment. This Contract applies only to the Client and the Designer. The Designer cannot assign its rights or delegate its obligations under this Contract to a third-party (other than by will or intestate), without first receiving the Client’s written permission. In contrast, the Client may assign its rights and delegate its obligations under this Contract without the Designer’s permission. This is necessary in case, for example, another Client buys out the Client or if the Client decides to sell the work product that results from this Contract.

11.2 Arbitration. As the exclusive means of initiating adversarial proceedings to resolve any dispute arising under this Contract, a party may demand that the dispute be resolved by arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association in accordance with its commercial arbitration rules.

11.3 Modification; Waiver. To change anything in this Contract, the Client and the Designer must agree to that change in writing and sign a document showing their contract. Neither party can waive its rights under this Contract or release the other party from its obligations under this Contract, unless the waiving party acknowledges it is doing so in writing and signs a document that says so.

11.4 Notices.

(a) Over the course of this Contract, one party may need to send a notice to the other party. For the notice to be valid, it must be in writing and delivered in one of the following ways: personal delivery, email, or certified or registered mail (postage prepaid, return receipt requested). The notice must be delivered to the party’s address listed at the end of this Contract or to another address that the party has provided in writing as an appropriate address to receive notice.

(b) The timing of when a notice is received can be very important. To avoid confusion, a valid notice is considered received as follows: (i) if delivered personally, it is considered received immediately; (ii) if delivered by email, it is considered received upon acknowledgement of receipt; (iii) if delivered by registered or certified mail (postage prepaid, return receipt requested), it is considered received upon receipt as indicated by the date on the signed receipt. If a party refuses to accept notice or if notice cannot be delivered because of a change in address for which no notice was given, then it is considered received when the notice is rejected or unable to be delivered. If the notice is received after 5:00pm on a business day at the location specified in the address for that party, or on a day that is not a business day, then the notice is considered received at 9:00am on the next business day.

11.5 Severability. This section deals with what happens if a portion of the Contract is found to be unenforceable. If that’s the case, the unenforceable portion will be changed to the minimum extent necessary to make it enforceable, unless that change is not permitted by law, in which case the portion will be disregarded. If any portion of the Contract is changed or disregarded because it is unenforceable, the rest of the Contract is still enforceable.

11.6 Signatures. The Client and the Designer must sign this document using Bonsai’s e-signing system. These electronic signatures count as originals for all purposes.

11.7 Governing Law. The laws of the state of Illinois govern the rights and obligations of the Client and the Designer under this Contract, without regard to conflict of law principles of that state.

11.8 Entire Contract. This Contract represents the parties’ final and complete understanding of this job and the subject matter discussed in this Contract. This Contract supersedes all other contracts (both written and oral) between the parties.


First Name
Last Name
Acme LLC.
First Name
Last Name
Corporation Corp.