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...or if I just want to showcase my ideas for existing companies with not-so-great logos, can I put that in my portfolio? or even fictitious companies, is that okay to build up on portfolio?

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    What does it say in your contract? – DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ Jun 27 '14 at 0:09
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    For the future, the easiest way to reassure yourself about this is to add a clause in your contract stating that you have the right to showcase the work in your portfolio. Then the client can spell out what is and isn't okay to show the public before you've even started, and everyone is clear. – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Jun 27 '14 at 10:51
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I see no reason why not.

The entire world is not so contract-obsessed as the US, so unless you have a massively complicated contract that mentions this (and that to me would be wildly bizarre), go ahead.

You should also be able to put the logos that are in use in your portfolio too. That is kinda what a portfolio is.

And fictional logos? Absolutely. It is nice to see some stuff that are entirely from your own imagination too.

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    I disagree with you "assuming" that the US is so contract-based.. If he has promised or is doing work for an agency and has agreed not to disclose any work to the public that is a reality. If a project branding is for a new press release and you are telling him sure why not and he has agreed to not release any work per his agreement then your answer is incorrect. Again, that is why I asked what is in his contract. If this is simply a logo design with any form of contract or anything in writing then so be it.. – DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ Jun 27 '14 at 0:52
  • If there was a contract in which these things were stated, there would hardly be point in asking a question. – benteh Jun 27 '14 at 0:54
  • yet we do get people that still ask... – DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ Jun 27 '14 at 0:57
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    The artist always has the right to show work unless that right was expressly given away in a contract. In the US, even for logo design, the artist retains all rights until they are signed away specifically. – Scott Jun 27 '14 at 1:35
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    I agree, unless is has been explicitly agreed upon to not show the work, then by all means do. – Jenna Jun 27 '14 at 10:11
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Well, I did couple of successful master classes about portfolio in past and would suggest - use any your work in portfolio that show your skills on the edge. No any excuses for mediocre work - "it is approved by client". It is YOUR portfolio, if you disagree with client, use what you think is best.

Client must sell own services/products. You must sell own.

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