Source Files

This article has been created to educate our clients about the nuances of design IP (Intellectual Property) as well as our agency's policy regarding the transfer of source/native files related to paid design assignments.

There are 3 parts to a design assignment:

  1. Concept and WIP (Work-in-Progress)
  2. Final Design
  3. Source Files of Final Design

Concept and WIP

Design work begins with inspiration, sketches and preliminaries; and is improved over drafts, feedback and notes. These are called "Concept and WIP" versions and are not for sale. This is because they can be used to inspire work for future projects; and as artists we require this flexibility to be creative.

Final Design

The final format of these files is either .PDF, .JPEG, .PNG, .MOV, .AVI or .MPEG depending upon the nature of the assignment. This is what you have paid us for - and you will receive a limited license to use these files for the purposes explained to us at the time of hire. It is a common yet mistaken belief that since a client pays us for design work, that they are entitled to all of our digital files. Please see the reference links at the bottom of this page for more clarification regarding this.

Source Files of Final Design

Source Files of the Final Design can be transferred to the client for a transfer fee. The transfer fee is known in the industry as "copyright assignment" or a "buy-out" of rights, assigning ownership of our IP to you. The format of source files is either .PSD, .AI, .PPTX, .PUB or .INDD. The transfer fee is calculated using the following formula:

3 x (Amount of the Final Design) + Third Party License fees.

Third Party License fees will include licenses for fonts, vectors, templates, models or stock images.


Reference Links:

AIGA SF Legalities