I've recently been offered a job designing a flyer for an event that a local organization is hosting. I was asked if I could also include the project files so they could easily alter the design for the next year of this event (it's a yearly competition).

This is no problem with me and I will be sending them the project files for the design. What I do wonder however is if it is good practice to charge a bit extra for doing this? And if so, how much (in relation to the original cost) extra should I charge?

Thanks for your input!

  • 1
    If you are curious, there is another question on this with detailed answers: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/8478/…
    – KMSTR
    Commented Oct 6, 2012 at 5:58
  • @KMSTR Thanks! I looked for that question but wasn't able to find it. Amazing how difficult it can be to find your own answers at times.
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 7, 2012 at 17:14
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    I'm a bit shocked by this standard. I just found myself in this situation, I asked a freelancer friend of mine for some drawings (paying of course), and she didn't want to give me the project files, just the final png files! That to me it's like asking a freelancer for some software project and giving you only the executable files, but not the code?? that's a bit shocking.
    – martinako
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 22:59
  • No It's like asking an auto mechanic to fix your car, then asking him/her to provide you with the diagnostic machine used to determine the repair necessary. Native files are tools used to get to final deliverables and it is not standard for a service provider to supply the tools which were used in the course of providing their service.
    – Scott
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 7:47

3 Answers 3


It is customary to include additional costs for native files. How much of a mark up is really up to you. It can range from 1/3 the project cost to 300% the project costs.

I, personally, price native files very high. The only rationale for any client wanting native files is to cut me out of the design loop. That in itself is fine. However using my work to do so is not fine. If they want native files, they must pay a hefty price for them. Often it's much better if, once they see the pricing, I explain that simple, quick, changes in the future will often result is a minimal cost and it's more cost effective to simply return to me when changes are needed.

  • This makes sense. I just don't want to seem to pushy, especially as the client is a close friend.
    – gburning
    Commented Oct 5, 2012 at 23:58
  • After reading all of the answers given here and the question linked by KMSTR, I have decided to keep a general policy of not sharing my work files with the client. It seems simpler to keep that as a general rule and then perhaps charging extra in special cases. Thanks for all the help!
    – gburning
    Commented Oct 6, 2012 at 17:42
  • That's generally my policy and why I price native files high - to discourage the desire from the client.
    – Scott
    Commented Oct 6, 2012 at 18:04
  • Trying to lock in customers is considered dishonest in other industries. Lock them in by doing good work, not by forcing them to hire you to do things they could do themselves. An employer is paying you for what you produce, which IS the native files. You can't sell your work and keep it, too. Not to mention that the person who buys your work might not be able to find you 5 years later when they need to change something!
    – Phil Goetz
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 5:47
  • I don't "lock" anyone into anything. Everything is stated clearly up front at the beginning of the relationship before any work is started. It is not standard for a designer to provide native files. Clients are not paying for native files. They are paying for delivery of production files. 30+ years in the industry.. I didn't pull this out of my hat. In addition, it is illegal to provide fonts to anyone.
    – Scott
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 6:57

Scott's answer being great, I'm just going to add on top it. Since you have mentioned that the client is a close friend, I think you need to talk to him/her and help him/her understand it comes with a price for various reasons.

  • First, as Scott has mentioned, cutting you out of the design loop means you just lost a potential job in the future. If the client is willing to pay a good amount for the original files, well that covers the future.
  • Second, every designer leaves a certain style on his/her designs. When the client alters the design, there are two possibilities:
    1. The client might take credit of the altered work and that is more future jobs lost for you. But this scenario is unlikely.
    2. The client might alter the design in the wrong way, give you credit for the design and when other designers look at your work ( modified work ), it might simply be unattractive and thus your reputation is at risk. Which means you might loose jobs in the future.

Under those considerations, I think you are better off following Scott's advice but also not to give only one design but a range of designs to chose from. It reduces the likelihood of the client insisting on the original files.
Finally to completely answer the original question: yes charge extra! But before, take into consideration the risks outlined above. How much? Well that is something that depends upon places and people, thus I think the best answer is to do it according to what suits you best. Also, you might want to ask other local designers!

  • 1
    Thanks! I can only choose one answer as the correct one but this definitely helped me decide!
    – gburning
    Commented Oct 6, 2012 at 17:40
  • Glad i could be useful! And Scott's answer is the natural answer, i was simply adding to his.
    – nt.bas
    Commented Oct 6, 2012 at 18:13
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    If you do provide project files, it's a good idea to also provide very clear guidelines on what should and shouldn't be done with them. Guides showing minimum spacing, minimum and maximum scaling, dos and don'ts for colour, typography, placement... It reduces the risk of an abomination being made that people might mistake for your work, and helps the client appreciate what they are paying a premium for. Commented Oct 7, 2012 at 10:31

From where I come from, another approach is if you are able to determine the nature of the project before hand then you can charge your services base on it.

For example, if you know the design they need will be use repeatedly for future projects then you can tell them you will deliver a "template" and a design for the current need base on the template. The template will include all the necessary native files for them to re-use for future projects.

Sometimes you know what they need is something unique, then you can base your fees depending on the hours and effort you spend on this project. Giving them the native files for such project is going to give them the convenience to revise something quickly if they have someone with the necessary skill set to do so. If they don't have such person, they will most probably ask you to help them.

I think this is much clearer for both parties.

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