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The biggest mistake designers make with contracts….

Since we are covering proposals and contracts in class, I thought this would be a helpful article for anyone that had any questions about what should be included in a contract or proposal.  The Biggest Mistake Designers Make with Contracts–Costing Time and Money by Preston D Lee was recently posted at Graphic Design Blender. Writing contracts suck.  According to Lee:

  1. It’s ok to copy portions of your contract that make sense for your current situation. I have a template that I fill in for each client with specific information applicable to a specific projects, yet the last portion of my proposal/contract is always the same when dealing with deposit, late fees, cancellation, etc.
  2. Hire an attorney. None of us are really in a position to be hiring attorneys so my advice to you is to be smart! Do your research to see what you can do to protect yourself. There are plenty of resources on line at places like AIGA’s Standard AgreementAll Graphic Design, Business of Design Online, Outlaw Design are just a few.
  3. Keep it simple. As Lee says, “You don’t always have to use flowery legalese to get your point across.” You’re not a lawyer so don’t pretend to be. Just be precise and clear in your terms and conditions.

When writing your own, don’t forget that these resources are just a starting point. Contracts are not one-size-fits-all and you have to tailor them to fit your needs as a designer. When put together with your customized design proposal and signed, the  attached terms and conditions bind the agreement with the client.

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