Elements You Should Include in a Design Contract Template

by Ruben 2 Minutes

Anyone who is working on a freelance basis has been burned by a dud client before. There are a lot of scam artists who prey on new freelancers and unwary contractors. Using a contract can provide you with a certain level protection. It certainly won’t cover you completely but nevertheless, you can at least retain the legal rights to your own work with it. At the very least, the work can be added as part of your portfolio. Some may even be used as the background for future work. So now, the question is, where will you find a design contract template and what should it cover?

Design contract template comes in varying formats. It comes down to what type of business you run, the amount of information you want to include, and the scope of the work involved. Individuals in the design industry are very vulnerable to intellectual property theft. The lists of things you can include in the contract are endless. However, it would be impossible to cover every single detail. There should still be a level of trust between you and the client as well.

In this article, we’ve identified some of the most important things that have to be included. Take note that we might have missed out on certain aspects (depending on the field you’re working on). The following is just a rough guide:

  • Grant of rights
  • Use of design/images
  • Down payment/milestone payments
  • Expenses
  • Liabilities
  • Designer credit
  • Copyright notice
  • Warranty and indemnity
  • Arbitration
  • Termination clause
  • Post-production costs
  • Designer substitution (in case the original designer cannot complete the work for a valid reason)
  • Final product

Covering these aspects will get you started. If you are into photography or other creative jobs that require in-person meetings, then make sure to clear up the client’s obligations at the very start. They may be new to hiring freelancers or agencies; it falls to you to clear things up. For instance, if you are shooting their wedding video, they should either provide your transportation or allocate a certain amount for this expense.

In doing creative work, it is highly recommended for you to ask for a down payment to cover your costs. This is a standard in the industry. If the client refuses to provide the payment, then the job may not be worth the risk. You can integrate all the conditions into the design contract template. Here at Bidsketch, we have proposals and contract template solutions. We provide you with the tools that will help your enterprise.

At the end of the day, the people who will make the contract work are you and your client. Communication is important. Make it a point to be approachable so that issues are resolved early on. Things can be blown out of proportion if you are working remotely especially if the other party finds it hard to reach you. You should be available to answer queries and provide quick revisions.

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by Ruben
Ruben originally founded proposal software, Bidsketch as a one-person company while working as a software developer for a billion dollar payroll company. Since its early days as a “company of one,” Bidsketch has grown to help over 2,000 paying customers win billions of dollars in new business and save thousands of hours in the process.