I am working with a graphic designer for a new logo. They are offering the logo, but have said there will be parameters put in place to prevent me from editing the logo myself.

Is this commonplace in this industry? I would prefer to be able to personally edit the font if I choose to, or change font color/placement. Also, I'd like to change colors (as we have not yet chosen our colors).

I am pretty proficient in illustrator, and would prefer not to deal with the graphic designer again in the future if I don't need to.

  • Well yes. And no you really dont want to do what you say you do in the grand scheme of things.
    – joojaa
    Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 22:39
  • Just a personal comment. Do not underestimate a Grpahic Design Profession. Design is a LOOOOOOOT more than being "proficient in illustrator" google.com./search?q=really+bad+logo+design
    – Rafael
    Commented Feb 8, 2016 at 23:08
  • @rafael I was being modest.. im a very good graphic designer. In fact, after seeing this graphic designers work, I no longer want to go with them. However, I'm willing to give him money for his time (he is a friend of my business partners), if i can use the work he did that I like (part of an icon) Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 0:01
  • Oh. Ok then. :o)
    – Rafael
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 0:59
  • 2
    @Ricky It may be worth rewriting this question with out the modesty then. "I am a graphic designer, starting a new company in another area. My business partner suggested that we contract out our logo design to a friend of his -- who I thought was much more experienced than me -- thus allowing me to focus on the other parts of starting the new business. I am not satisfied with the results of the designer we contracted to (though I am willing to pay for his time). I would like to almost start the logo design again, keeping just a small part of his work. But ..." then continue into the question. Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 5:03

4 Answers 4


For logo work, no, this is not common. A graphic designer understands that a company needs to own their visual identity outright including with that to modify it in the future as they see fit. As others have stated, it's not necessarily a good idea but it absolutely should be within your rights as the owner of said logo.

  • this made the most sense in my opinion. Im glad to hear that it is not necessarily common place. Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 6:13

Depends on your contract, graphic designers charge different prices for different rights to their work. What you are asking for is full transfer of rights, including all intelectual and moral rights.

This is the sort of thing you need to have negotiated before you begin the job because it affects how the job is executed and whether or not the designer will bother to take the job or not.

In essence this boils down to a few things:

  • Why would you want to even begin doing that
  • You're essentially asking the designer to dissasociate themselves from the design. The designer can no longer use you as a reference. This may be more than enough for a designer not to bother as you do not grow his chances of getting new work.
  • In fact you're not buying a logo you're buying either a template system for a family of logos or your buying a tutorial into logo design and should be charged appropriately.

Much depends on the contract and the price paid for the work product/rights.

Our studio typically retains the copyrights, the client can register a trademark. Something we openly recommend.

The reasons vary but the reality is when a client or anyone else (say for example a printer) modifies the work/product artistic and legal problems develop.

  • 1
    To be clear, your firm owns the copyright to corporate identities of companies?
    – DA01
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 0:02

It is common for many designers to do this. If you only paid a couple hundred dollars or less, you might only be paying for the right to use their design instead of for the files themselves. Check your design contract if you have one to see what it says.

  • 1
    This isn't common at all for a logo. A company needs to own a logo outright. Any half decent graphic designer understands that.
    – DA01
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 5:53
  • 1
    I'm not saying it is a good system, but it is a popular option for many designers because it demands return business... And there are plenty of people out there less than half decent taking design work @da01 Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 7:47
  • I think you may be thinking about the common practice of designers retaining the work files for general design work. But not with logos, which have to be given to the client most of the time for them to manage as they see fit.
    – DA01
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 15:10
  • Nah, there are some that'll hold the files for ransom... But they were probably businesss majors or lawyers before, so you're probably screwed either way if you signed a contract with them lol @da01 Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 16:29

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.