As a company, if I hire a graphic designer to create ads, brochures, etc who owns the InDesign files? Does the designer or the company that hired the designer own the files? My company hired a designer to create some sell sheet templates and now he won't give us the InDesign files claiming intellectual property.

  • 1
    What does the contract define as being "sell sheet templates"?
    – DA01
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 21:10

1 Answer 1


Depends on what the contract says. Typically the freelance designer owns the source files and will deliver you a finished version for you to use, example a PDF for print.

If the designer works for the company then the company would own the source files. All this really depends on what the company and the freelance designer agreed to.

If you're wanting the source files I would contact the designer to see if you can purchase them. Based on what you've said it appears your company hired a designer for designs, they delivered possibly a PDF and now your company wants everything associated with them. Think of this scenario like you hired a welder to weld some metal and you now expect his jig and welder. That's not what you purchased you purchased what he made with said items. That designer could have paid for fonts you dont own the rights to use even.


  • Agree. I'm just wondering about the exact meaning of this: "to create some sell sheet templates" If it is a template for InDesign, the file he should provide is an InDesign file.
    – Rafael
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 20:58
  • 1
    no not really.. there are plenty of "templates" that can be used in Acrobat as forms that were created in InDesign so he doesn't have to provide InDesign files.
    – user9447
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 20:59
  • Yeap. This totally depends on what the exact work was about.
    – Rafael
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 21:01
  • when we asked the designer to work on this project we specifically asked him to create a template in InDeign that I would be able to us to make changes and updates. Now he's bulking at giving us the InDesign files claiming InDesign is a tool that he uses to create the template.
    – Maureen B
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 21:43
  • Then that is something of a legal question possibly. Sorry we cant be much help in this matter.
    – user9447
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 21:45

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