Design Contracts and Legal Agreements

Graphic Design Contracts-1

The following are a list of resources to aid you in how to conduct yourself as a professional in the world of professional graphic design. Examples include how to charge for design, how to draw up an agreement or contract with a client, how to invoice for design.

Your best source for best business practices, contractual agreements, copywrite, ethical business guidelines, etc. is Graphic Artist Guild Handbook on Pricing & Ethical Guidelines


Below are links to examples and templates for some of the most common written agreements, contracts and invoice formats. You can use many of them directly or feel free to customize them as your needs require.

In general it is always advisable to error on the side of formality when doing business, no matter how small the service or design project may seem. This is especially true when doing work for a family member or friend. You do not want accidental misconceptions or misunderstandings about what is expected to ruin an otherwise great relationship. So, keep everything in writing right from the beginning. Your friend/client will appreciate this and respect you more as a professional… and you will remain friends!

In every case, any and all written agreements are meant to clarify the needs and responsibilities for both the client and the designer. Every written form of agreement should cover a minimum of the following in some way, shape or form.


  • deliverables; what you the designer are responsible for creating for the client
  • due dates; usually at least three main dates within the overall project timeline to keep everyone “in the loop” and mark progress.
  • costs involved; materials/supplies, production, designer fees
  • number of revisions under the contract quote (usually a maximum of 3 major revisions after which additional revisions are billed at an hourly rate.
  • Who is responsible for what, who has the final approval?


  • Cost/budget
  • Timeline
  • What am I paying for?
  • Why did you choose this style? (color, typeface, symbols, etc.)
  • Why did you create these applications? (website, posters, flyer, etc.)