Terms and Conditions for a graphic design project are typically given to the client before any design work is carried out. Once a client agrees to the Terms and Conditions, they form a legally binding contract between you and the client. Well-drafted business Terms and Conditions will cover all aspects of the transaction with your customer, including fees, copyright, amendments to the design and interactions with third parties. Terms and Conditions are designed to protect your interests, explain the expectations of each party, prevent disputes and clarify how certain aspects of the relationship will function. This article is a guide for graphic designers. It explains the most important topics to be covered in the business Terms and Conditions of graphic designers.

Copyright

One of the most important issues you will need to cover in the Terms and Conditions for a graphic design business is the ownership of copyright in the designs. The Terms and Conditions will need to explain who owns the symbols, logos, copy and composition and whether any licensing arrangements exist and the terms of such arrangements.  The Terms and Conditions should also explain that any use of the artwork prior to receiving payment is not allowed. You also have moral rights in your work, which protects you from having your work treated in a derogatory manner, or from having your work wrongly attributed.

Fees and Payment

The Terms and Conditions should also define how your fee structure works.  This might include the cost of a consultation, what the consultation involves (i.e. its scope) and any correspondence that is complimentary or unpaid. The Terms and Conditions should clearly state what the fees cover and that any additional changes to the design outside the original brief you agreed to may incur further costs.  It’s also probably a good idea that you state that the original quote might be subject to change if additional work on the design is required.

Alterations to the Design

Obviously, there will be times where a client is sent a design and wants to make ad hoc changes. This is normal in practice; however, the Terms and Conditions should clearly explain the amendment process and procedure.  For instance, the Terms and Conditions may state that the design can be changed once within 14 days of the original submission at no extra cost.  The Terms should further state whether or not these changes include minor changes (and state what covers minor changes), whereas major changes may incur further fees.

Amending Terms and Conditions

Have your business lawyer insert a clause that specifies under what circumstances the Terms and Conditions may be amended. In most cases, Terms and Conditions are to be amended in writing by an authorised representative of either party prior to work commencing.

Content Management Systems

In many cases, a graphic designer will be working with a third party website owner.  The Terms and Conditions need to state in clear terms which party will be responsible for the content, and at what stage.  In some circumstances, content will be altered throughout the process and can sometimes be lost or damaged – the Terms and Conditions should state that the site owner is responsible if this happens.

Conclusion

Having business Terms and Conditions is a great way to protect your graphic design business. Well-drafted Terms and Conditions for graphic designers should at a minimum cover fees, work scope, intellectual property, and dealings with third parties. They should also set out a procedure for making amendments to the design. If you are a graphic designer, it is a good idea to have your Terms and Conditions drafted by a business lawyer.  LegalVision’s team of experienced business lawyers have drafted Terms and Conditions specifically for those working in graphic design.

Lachlan McKnight

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