I'm increasingly having clients request delivery of all native files, including stock photos, fonts, etc. used in a design. Currently I've been using Thinkstock for photography, which only allows downloaded assets to be used in design work on one machine. Typically font licensing agreements also limit usage of purchased fonts to machines within one business. So it seems I need to be telling clients to repurchase all assets used in a project, which seems like overkill.

The bigger problem is often stock photos and the like have been incorporated in design pieces after some retouching, color alterations, etc., so the client would need access to the edited, brand-specific versions and not just original files. Obviously going forward, we'll need to more specifically communicate up-front how design assets are handled, but what suggestions do you have for dealing with handing off assets?

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You shouldn't provide the native editable files. If you do, you should charge a high price for this since it contains the "recipe" of how you did your layouts and how you achieved some special effects. Some clients use editable files to learn tricks or will distribute them to another designer who will gladly take the credit for your work.

The points you mentioned are perfectly right; you can't redistribute fonts and assets that are not licensed to your clients.

But this is good for you since it gives you a powerful reason to not give your fonts and stock images to the client. For example, you could choose to sell your editable files but mention to your client that he will need to purchase the license for the fonts and also the original stock images.

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