I am trying to figure out how to write a contract for a design service, and make sure my pricing is fair. Any help would be greatly appreciated have no idea where to start with the contract. I have already completed the designs and the invoice, I have looked up the average cost of designs and came ups with the following :


  • For the pricing, I did a $25 hourly rate ( I made it over the span of 4 days with edits after sending it to my professor.)I worked on it in and out of class. About 5.5 hours of work each day.


  • I looked at the average design cost for a catalog I found that this was priced differently anywhere from $1,600 to $9,600 for 32 pages, I used the median of those to the number $5,600 divided that by 32 and the total was $175/pg, and I made a 46.29% reduction because the content is provided, but I wasn't sure of the amount of content or quality of the images, making it an average of $81.25/page for 8 pages.

Total: $1,200 -$300 = $900

  • discount for being a new client

For the deposit, I asked for 50%.


There is no client my teacher is playing the part of Mary in order to provide us with practice, it's just a homework assignment the only benefit is me passing the class and having a better idea of what to include in a contract or how to charge incase I do some freelanceing.

For my contract I have the outline :

Description of service, Payment for service, Relationship of parties, Work Product Ownership, Confidentiality, Entire Agreement, Severability, and Applicable Law as well as the signature and date area. Not sure how to make sure I don't get sued or what the Term or Termination should be.

I also included my assignment to give more context to what my contract should include.

My assignment is the following:

You are contacted by Mary via email she is looking for a designer to create a logo for her small business and a catalog. She has informed you of the specs of the project and her budget. Mary is starting up a custom furniture company, Mary's Custom Furniture. Mary has also informed you that she would like her logo to be black and pink. For the catalog, she will provide all the images and content.

For this, You must design both the Logo and catalog (I will provide you with the images and content). In addition to the designs, you must create an invoice and a contract.


Logo: 4/4 5"x 5" or 1080px x 1080px

Catalog: 4/4 5.5" x 8.5" 8 pages

Budget: $1,500 - $5,000

Due Date: April 30th, 2022


For your contract, Mary's is only allowed to make 3 changes to the designs, you must ask for a deposit.

For your invoice, you must have an itemized breakdown, it must be clear what you are charging. The pricing will be up to you.


Make sure you use the CYA(Cover Your A**) method when writing your contract. Make it clear that you aren't liable if Mary's company gets sued. Don't forget to ask for a deposit! Make sure you get paid for your work. Keep in mind that this project can potentially help you when you graduate or when you decide to work freelance.

  • Note: You are allowed to use outside help for this assignment, you must provide who/where you receive the help from.
  • Thanks for editing. Can you detail how you came up with pricing? How long do you think a logo will take you to create? How long for the catalog? How large (how many pages) is the catalog to be? 12pgs at 5.5x8.5 may not be a big deal, but 60pgs is :) Are you competing with other students? Is this actual work you may do if your quote is selected?
    – Scott
    Jan 27, 2022 at 21:54
  • I updated my post, thanks for the help. Jan 27, 2022 at 23:02
  • Very good edit. Thanks. It's MUCH easier for others to offer some advice now. I may edit my answer when time permits.
    – Scott
    Jan 27, 2022 at 23:03
  • There are some parts that have no sense to me. For example. A px size in a logo is not a spec. It has no sense. That is just an export that can be changed with one click. It does not define any price or amount of work. That is just an example that you are not exploring real issues that will change the cost, but focusing on "accidents" that are not relevant.
    – Rafael
    Jan 28, 2022 at 1:38

2 Answers 2


Update after Q edit with more detailed information:

General regarding time estimates:

Time can be difficult thing to factor - the less experience you have they more unsure you are about how long something may take. Even experienced designers can struggle to estimate a project time well. You will want to always pad the time necessary to complete any project in order to ensure you never undercut yourself. I don't mean to go overboard with it, but always add another couple/few hrs to any estimated time. Trust me, you'll often be thankful you did. Between client calls, emails, revisions, last minute edits, etc. - there's a lot of time used you can't possibly estimate with any sort of definitive figure.

General regarding pricing:

You seem to be dead set on providing discount after discount after discount. Why? A business can't survive if they continually provide discounts. And if it's done with any sort of regularity, they aren't "discounts." They are reduced pricing.

  • Change your paradigm... the client isn't "helping you" by giving you work. YOU are helping them by providing knowledgeable, professional quality, work to solve their marketing problems.

For me, personally, any "discount" is a very rare thing and never built into any bid/quote. I provide any discount upon invoicing... i.e. I may quote a job at $100, and the client accepts that quote and expects to pay $100. But, if inclined, I'll invoice for $80 and note a 20% discount on the invoice.

You can almost never increase pricing for a project once a formal quote/bid/estimate has been submitted - for whatever reason: bad client provided materials, took more time than you thought it would, etc. It's much easier to reduce pricing after the job is complete (which clients will love). ALWAYS price more than you actually think it'll take. Add another x% to any fee estimates. It's better to price too high, than too low. One can always negotiate lower if you price too high for the client, but if you price too low, a client is never going to ask you to raise your pricing.

And there's an old adage:

If you get every job you bid on, your pricing is too low.

Regarding the client's budget, you can see my general opinion at Freelancing.SE Realize any required expenses, i.e. photography, location travel, etc. would be factored based on a budget. It's the "intellectual work" itself I feel, any client's budget has no determining factor when quoting/estimating a job. There are no "hard goods" to pay for when creating digital content (PDF, HTML, etc) therefore a budget means nothing other than "the client doesn't want to pay more than $x". That notion honestly doesn't matter to me. If I calculate my pricing and it's not within a clients budget, that's not my problem. Asking for a budget from the client has never made sense to me - it's nothing more than asking "how much can I charge before you complain?".


  • 22hrs for a logo may be okay. I honestly would double that. It's not impossible to create a decent brand mark in 20hrs, but realistically, with revisions and client demands you should figure at least 1/3 more time.
  • I won't comment on the specific hourly rate, other than to say, minimum wage in the US is at $15/hr. An additional $10/hr for skilled craftsmanship seems rather low to me. However, for "student rates" it may be within a common range. I wouldn't know student rates. And I don't know what your overhead may be - if overhead is very, very low then lower pricing may be acceptable.


  • Never reduce rates because the client is "to provide" content. Until you actually see what they provide, you have no idea if it will be more or less work to use what they send. Example: if you need 300ppi 5x6" photos and the client sends you 72ppi 3x4" photos... you've got issues. A nearly 50% reduction would be absolutely unacceptable to me.
    • Regarding client materials: You want to "CYA" as your instructor states. Contract Callback: You can place a clause in the contract stating that any and all client-provided material must be in acceptable usable form or an additional $x per hour fee will be incurred to repair, edit, or otherwise source appropriate images.

Regarding contracts...

These can be pretty "hairy". You can find some templates to see the general structure and the overall clauses used... rights transferred, arbitration, payment structure, etc. But the really important part for any project is the Scope of Work.

The Scope of Work (SOW) should detail, as much as possible, the work you are to complete. That way if the client asks for something they've never mentioned before you can charge them for it. If they complain, you have it in writing what the SOW was to be for the price you quoted.

Ideally you have an attorney review, if not write, any contract. But I realize that's not feasible for a student most of the time. I imagine your instructor is merely looking to see if you are aware of general contract term (rights, arbitration, etc.). It's for this reason I think any general design contract template would suffice for the assignment. At least, that's what I'd do if I were in school and faced with this assignment. If the instructor complains, I would in turn explain that I'm not an attorney and didn't feel the assignment warranted hiring one to write the contract.

Original answer ....

This is a very broad question, much of which can be answered by searching for previously asked questions at this site.

In addition, what I want in my contract and what I price work at, will most likely never be the same as what you want in a contract or you price. While there may be some similarities, they are almost always a bit different between designers.

I completely sympathize with not knowing where to start and it seeming a tad overwhelming. The first step is to divide the assignment into pieces -- the contract, then the pricing.

So start by figuring out what aspects you need specific to this project in a contract:

An internet search for "Catalog Design Contract" and/or "Logo Design Contract" will also uncover many links to explore including some templates and guides.

Then you can move on to pricing.

It's not possible to even begin to think of what the specific project costs may be without first knowing your overhead and how much time you'll need to complete the projects. Those, only you can answer.

Pricing is a difficult thing even experienced designer's can struggle with. No good advice is going to give a specific dollar amount - Seriously, if you see anything stating "charge $xxx" it's bad advice. Good advice will provide formulas which will result is a figure for you and your work based upon your overhead and expenses as well as project scope.

Similarly, an internet search for "how to price Catalog/Logo design" will be fruitful.


I hope this is just an exercise for a class.

As there is not a specific question, let me just make a long comment.

It is not rude. :) It is an opinion-based criticism for your own sake.

Make sure my pricing is fair.

One could say that if the two parties involved agree, that is fair. If you provide a good service for the $, it is fair. But that is soo relative. If you are a world-renowned designer the pricing could look good when for a recent graduate could look too much.

where to start with the contract.

Hire a lawyer. You are a designer and you should know where to start with a design.

I have already completed the designs and the invoice

So, the pricing was already agreed... you shall not work (Gandalf voice here) until the price is agreed.

I looked at the average design cost for a catalog...I used the median of those

Is the quality of your work a median of those? Or you are only starting?

I do not want to dismiss the quality of your work, but if you are starting, and you have no experience, I am not sure if you can charge an "average". In my opinion, a non-experienced designer could be at the bottom of the price tag, and a more elaborate design on the top. Yes, there are some prodigy artists out there.

I made a 46.29% reduction because the content is provided

Based on what? Are the photos taken by a full crew of photographers, stylists, gaffers, makeup artists, wardrobes, etc, on the Bahamas, with a top model? therefore you defined that if they do not provide the content, you will pay for it with an additional 46.29%?

If they do not provide the text, the information, you will also find out what are those? Size, color, fabric, technical specifications, etc?

You are designing and elaborating the catalog. The client must provide the info. If you are not a photographer they should provide the photos. No in-between.

or quality of the images

In the case, they were not "good quality"? What is the parameter of quality? If you only mean resolution, that is a simple thing to do. A minimal part of the time.

Are you checking the color accuracy of every piece? Are you willing to color correct them? Can you?

but I wasn't sure of the amount of content

Ok, that is the first thing. A technical catalog of a lot of tiny elements is different than a fashion one with big photos.

discount for being a new client

I do not know if that is a good move. You should make sure to provide quality work, not discounts on a client that possibly will only make one catalog per year. I could be wrong.

Not sure how to make sure I don't get sued or what the Term or Termination should be.

Get a lawyer. And focus on what you can do and will do. Anything not expressed there you will not do.

You are contacted by Mary via email

That is the first contact. Call her.

the specs of the project and her budget.

If you both agree, that is fair.

like her logo to be black and pink.

Ok. Just be careful that the client do not "impose" subjective preferences. Make sure you can talk about the options needed by the project.

Logo: 4/4 5"x 5" or 1080px x 1080px

That is not a spec. That is the size of a simple export.

Budget: $1,500 - $5,000

IMHO, no you do not define a budget as a broad range of money. Your client will choose the lower end, you will choose the high end. That has no sense. Does the budget include printing? Beware of that. You asked for a possible cause for being sued.

Mary's is only allowed to make 3 changes to the designs.

You are not working on Fiverr. You must talk during the process.

CYA(Cover Your A**) method when writing your contract.

Make it clear that you aren't liable if Mary's company gets sued.

Why would that happen for the designer of a catalog? did she steal the photos? Are they her property or downloaded from the internet?

Be careful when designing a logo, because someone could, yes argue that the logo is from them.

Make sure you get paid for your work.

Good advice

you must provide who/where you receive the help from.

Do not quote me. A random dude on a public forum. Get a lawyer. Yes, this is my disclaimer. This is just a long opinion, not professional advice or anything like that.

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