5 Items to Include in a Graphic Design Contract

5 Items to Include in a Graphic Design Contract | Contracts for Creatives | Ashlee Hightower Attorney for Creatives

As a graphic designer, it’s important that you have an iron-clad contract on hand to use when on-boarding new clients.  I love working with my graphic designer clients as their businesses are always super interesting and they produce beautiful work!  Today I’m sharing 5 items to include in a graphic design contract.  While there’s more to include in a graphic design contract, these five items are a good start to having a rock solid contract that you can count on to protect you and your business.

5 Items to Include in a Graphic Design Contract

Offer Add-On Options //

Clients often underestimate the time and work they will need from their graphic designers.  As a graphic designer, you should always include language in your contract to address any work provided to a client that is outside of the originally agreed upon scope of work.

Be sure to include your pay rate for any work that extends past the original scope of work, whether that be an hourly fee or a day rate.  Let the client know that you will notify him/her of any work billed at this rate and will request approval to proceed with the additional services prior to proceeding.

Payment Up Front //

Requesting payment up front and/or incentivizing payment up front is always a good idea.  There are several ways you can go about including this in your contract.  You can either request partial payment upfront or you can incentivize clients to make the full payment up front by providing them with a small discount if payment is made prior to work beginning.  Perhaps  you could offer a 5% discount on the quoted price if they make the payment in full upon signing the contract.

If your client does opt to make the payment in full up front, be sure to inform them that any additional work done by you that falls outside of the scope of work that he/she paid you for and you agreed upon in the contract, will be charged to the client separately.

Include Process & Milestones //

Along with your deliverables, your contract should include information about your process, revision and feedback sessions, and milestone events that will occur throughout the project timeline.  By including this information in the contract, you are ensuring everyone is on the same page.  You’re providing your clients with answers to questions before they have a chance to ask them.

Short But Reasonable Time Period to Pay //

Don’t give your clients forever to make a payment.  It is common practice to include net-30 pay periods, however, there’s nothing wrong with including a shorter payment window.  Include 7-10 business days as the time period to pay.  The 10 business day window allows clients two full weeks to make payment, which is completely reasonable.

Include Late Fee Language //

You should always include late fee language in your client contract.  While you may believe your clients will pay on time, unfortunately, that’s not always the case.  Including late fee language in your contract not only gives you a leg to stand on if you have to take action to enforce the payment terms of the contract, it will also incentivize clients to pay on time or scare off any client that is hesitant about paying your quoted price from the beginning.

Are you a graphic designer in need of contract help?  Check out my contract templates crafted specifically for graphic designers and available for immediate download here!  If you’re looking for more of a custom contract, shoot me an email at ashlee@ashleehightower.com or complete my contact form!


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