This is a true small business story with names and company descriptions changed…
Robert owns a small repair shop and decided to have a website built two years ago by a local company that said they could help him get online. When he began the process he did not have much, not even a current version of his company logo. The local firm was happy to help. They charged him extra, but they gave him a digital version of his logo as a high-resolution JPEG. The firm also built Robert a website, but the process was not a smooth one and when it was all done Robert did not have the best experience with the graphic and web firm. But the project was over and he was online, so he let it go and moved on with his business.
Robert’s business has been growing nicely and now he has decided to make some new improvements to his website and to change his company logo just a bit. He decided to look for a new firm since he was not all that happy with how his last project ended. He found Technology Therapy Group in his travels and engaged us to work on his project.
We began by asking Robert for items we needed to get working: the logo file with fonts, access to his website and design files. Robert only had the logo as a high-resolution JPEG and he did not have any design files. We then began explaining that we needed these items or we would have to recreate them from scratch.
This story is a common one; I have heard it time and time again from business owners. Months, or even years later, when they are ready to do more work they do not have what they need and must pay for elements again. It is frustrating, but it is avoidable.
What to ask for based on your creative project:
Designing a logo is a creative process it may include an illustration or symbol and text. It is a good idea to request a copy of the font separately if it is a unique font. Otherwise you may have to purchase it on your own. Also ask for a copy of the layered design file in the native format. That may vary based on the designer’s preference of application, but it may be Photoshop (psd) or Illustrator (ai). If you engaged the individual or firm under a work for hire agreement, these files belong to you. If you did not have an agreement in place you can request these files, but understand that an additional fee will be required to release them.
Designing print materials, like ads or brochures, often requires the creative individual to use unique fonts, stock images, or illustrations. When the process is completed, the designer releases a print-ready file for you to use. This file is not always editable or changeable. Be sure to request the raw assets that went into the print piece so you may use them on other mediums, as well as the layered design file.
The web design and development process is broken down into two different phases. When a custom site is designed, a team creates design files to show the client. These files are layered design files. The developer uses these files to code the website. To ensure that you have what you need to protect yourself, you would want to request these layered design files. If you have a website that has elements created in Flash, you will want to have a copy of the layered file known as the FLA file. For your website overall you should request information about the platform the website has been developed on and the tools used to create the site.
You may need to put provisions in your contracts or read them for the items discussed here. We know it can be frustrating to have to pay for something twice but if you know what to ask for in the beginning then you will be protected.