I'm asking this question because of this one and also for previous people I've seen ask similar Q's.

As a fairly new designer who doesn't really have much freelance work under my belt (just the odd small bit here and there for friends). I don't want to get stuck in a potentially awkward situation with a future client when I end up doing larger amounts of work with no means of defense if they start trying to ask for extra, such as editable files.

I'd like to have some form of contract I can send them before hand which states everything I am offering and what they are paying for.

I know this varies a lot from person to person but is there a standard to writing up a contract and how much protection does it offer?

Basically can I just write up a page of info in word and send that to a client for them to agree on and that's enough upon their approval? or is there another method that is more protective for the designer?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Possible duplicate, and certainly helpful: What should be in a job contract? graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/5787/… Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 18:06
  • The upshot is sure, you can write up a page in Word, but you can protect yourself and your client pretty well if you take a little more time. The AIGA form in the related question should really help. Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 18:07
  • @LaurenIpsum thank you! I must of missed that post when I searched
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 8:57

1 Answer 1


I find that I get less friction if I don't send my clients a "contract" but a "project specification" or a "work proposal". In this document I outline the scope of the project, the timeline, deliverables, payments and a few paragraphs about intellectual rights, etc. This works effectively as a contract, outlining both parties' responsibilities and rights.

  • Thank you, this is good to know. I always think that telling people what they will be getting might start off the relationship sour, especially if they're smaller and not used to receiving "guidelines"
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 8:57
  • @SaturnsEye no, no, you must have some kind of contract. Casual or formal, short or long, one person or corporation, putting it on paper covers your butt. I have seen people lose years of work and thousands of dollars because they didn't take an hour to sketch out the project on paper for both sides to sign. Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 11:35
  • Indeed! I won't do any work in the future then with at least some agreement on both sides :)
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 14:11
  • 1
    Any serious business will be used to working with contracts and other legal documents. If they balk at a contract, that's a huge red flag for me, and a deal breaker. I call mine a "Proposal and Statement of Work" but it clearly spells out terms, and everyone needs to sign it. (so it becomes the contract)
    – Voxwoman
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 14:31

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