A client asked me to design a signage for his shop. He didn't have a logo. He said all he wanted was the name of his shop designed nice enough to hang outside. Now he is asking for a smaller file to use as a logo.

The signage design didn't take long to make and he was pretty cool about everything. However, I feel that, if he was going to use it as a logo in the first place, then it should have been charged as a logo and branding project, which it wasn't.

I have always been confused on how charging in the design world works. I've always been pretty casual and informal. Sometimes though things like these come up and I dont know what to do.

  • What kind of copyright release did you make?
    – joojaa
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 6:20
  • @joojaa we didn't really discuss copyrights :/ like i said i've always been very casual with clients. And the client is a friend.
    – user78148
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 6:49
  • Is your friend comfortable financially? Let's be honest, he might see absolutely no issue in paying for the full price of the logo. Did you already discuss or mention to him the logo is another separate project OR are you asking the question on this stack because you are anxious about his reaction?
    – go-junta
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 8:31
  • @go-junta yes he is comfortable financially :) I haven't mentioned this problem to him yet. When I posted this question here I wasn't exactly sure how to handle it. I guess it's obvious now. I have to tell him. But I am anxious about how he would react. Thank you for responding to my question :)
    – user78148
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 11:54

3 Answers 3


This question is closely releated but not a duplicate: Copyright on free work

Similar to the linked question, you did a small job and now it's becoming a big job. So you explain that the rules are different if he wants this as an official logo.

Briefly, a logo copyright release is exclusive and unlimited. The client is the only person or entity allowed to use the logo (other than putting it in your portfolio) and the client is allowed to use the logo in whatever method, manner, or media he chooses, including distribution, forever.

You get to charge much more for that, because you are releasing all the rights to that work, to him only. You can't ever use that artwork or similar idea again, so you need to be compensated for that potential loss of income.

Try looking over the AIGA Standard agreement for some boilerplate wording, and adapt it as needed.

  • 2
    Thank you for answering my question :) I never really understood why logos cost much more until now. :)
    – user78148
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 12:01

Your problem is that you did not have a contract. No worries there may be a way out, although you will probably lose your client. See, the reason why you charge your client more for logo work is that you will release all, worldwide copyrights to the client. In case of the signage you have not, hopefully not released copyrights to the client. Therefore you negotiate a fee for copyright release.

As a related note try to start making contracts. Contracts clarify situations so even if the contract is not a big deal in itself it would work like a introduction to graphics design business. This helps the client understand what they are getting which makes it easier for you to price things.

  • It's very bad practice, I know. Technically, I haven't released anything yet. The files are still with me. And I already drafted a contract for future use. I don't have anything on copyrights on it though. I don't really know what kind of copyrights you release to clients.
    – user78148
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 7:13

You should charge for the work, not the type of media you make. It's not like you needed physical materials to make it. The client has their fair right to use the material they paid you for in any way they like.

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