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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.