I am about to hire a Graphic Designer to help my Web-design company. Besides for designing websites, she will be making Logos and Advertisments. Now, she tells me that it is standard practice for her to retian the Adobe files used to create images and photos. She is happy that I should own the finished jpgs and such but she is reluctant to give me the Adobe files to play with myself.

This bothers me because sometimes for web design I want to change something myself and that wont be possible because I wont have access to the Adobe psd's etc.

Secondly, will my clients not expect to get the Adobe files along with the Logo and Ad?

What is the standard practice with this thing?

  • Related and possible duplicates: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/8478/… graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/11525/… Short answer... yes it's traditional for the designer to maintain original files unless you pay for them.
    – Scott
    Feb 12, 2013 at 20:45
  • @Scott thanks, exactly what i was looking for but I expect you knew where to find it considereing you are the author ;). You write that Logo's are different and is normal to give the vector graphic. Would this include the Logo layers or would it be one final layer but yet still a vector graphic?
    – Lucky Luke
    Feb 12, 2013 at 21:08
  • With true vector graphics (not Photoshop files) layers are unimportant. Objects are all editable and individually manipulated regardless of any layer structure. Logo files should NOT be delivered as Photoshop files regardless of format. They need to be true vector files - AI, Corel, Xara, Freehand - never Photoshop/Fireworks files.
    – Scott
    Feb 12, 2013 at 21:41
  • @Scott thanks for the advice. Based on your answers I will tell the designer that for the logos, I need the actual AI file. For print stuff she can keep it, and for Web Design Images we will debate it! Agreed?
    – Lucky Luke
    Feb 12, 2013 at 22:14
  • 2
    Generally, that's how I handle everything. So, yes. Sounds good to me :) Be aware.. files are bread and butter to a designer. A simple change you make to anything may mean the designer no longer whats to claim it as their work. It's their reputation as much as yours -- that's where discussion on delivering native files is important. Not due to some "hoarding" mentality.
    – Scott
    Feb 12, 2013 at 22:43

2 Answers 2


There is no standard practice.

I love to share my raw files with anyone that would like them, but due to copyright right stories/stealing, people are scared to share what they make.

Like you said yourself, you would like to fiddle around with the design. For a graphic designer this can be scary: so you know Photoshop so you can do what I can do. So this is going to make me obsolete...!? These are questions designers can ask them selves. But if you are a good designer you know what you stand for and know what your share in a project is.

I personally see more in the web design/development way of working and was wondering why there isn't a 'Github' like 'social' designing platform.

Open source is the future.

  • How does one pay the bills on open source? Feb 12, 2013 at 21:54
  • web developers seem to get by. and all there work is out in the open...
    – juistm
    Feb 12, 2013 at 21:58
  • 1
    Uhm, no... SOME of their work is in the open. They keep the truly stunning stuff for themselves. No one, and I mean no one, gives absolutely everything away for free. They'd starve. Most who provide open source content have some other employment so giving those particular files/projects away are not critical to their wellbeing and it's more a past time or hobby effort.
    – Scott
    Feb 12, 2013 at 22:48
  • Re. the open source software analogy: Imagine a development shop who specialise in open source software. They share generalised versions of their work, and benefit from feedback and input: like designers sharing general techniques on sites like this. But they'd never share the actual final products they made for one client. e.g. Drupal developers say "Here's a module we're sharing, based on a feature we worked on for X client", but never "Here's a site we built for X client as a gzip file". Not just because the client would sue: like design, it's too specific to that client to be useful. Feb 13, 2013 at 12:37
  • Re. "due to copyright right stories/stealing, people are scared to share", that's what Creative Commons is for. General things like icon sets get shared like this, but almost never final designs for clients. Exceptions: rejected spec work, hobby projects, or work where the contract was terminated before completion (e.g. the google web font Lato). There's a danger to doing this though: you can't stop the original client you were hoping to get paid by then using it for free... Feb 13, 2013 at 12:43

Designer must provide all raw files to a client, if a client would like to make some changes in the future (logotype color for example) in a year or more in 99% he will not be able to find the designer who made this work and ask him for changes

  • 2
    You are wrong on both counts. Designers are not required to hand raw files to a client; that's negotiated in a contract. And if the client wants to make changes, do you automatically destroy all your email and written correspondence once a month so you can't contact someone you worked with a year ago? Why wouldn't you be able to contact the designer and say "Hey, you did X for me last year and I'd like an update"? Feb 12, 2013 at 21:53

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