The most important document a freelance designer will ever have is a rock-solid contract for clients. The worst thing is, though, freelance designers, especially when just starting out, simply don’t use them.
As a possible cost effective solution for you, in this article, we have highlighted some freely available sample contract templates you can use. You are allowed to use each of these samples in their entirety. Fill in the relevant personal, client and project details, and you use them as your own. Or, you could use them as a reference when drafting your personal version.
Whichever way you choose to use these contracts, it is recommended that you still have your contract draft checked by a lawyer. Always protect yourselves.
Contract Killer + Sample (via 24Ways.org)
This contract, from Andy Clarke, breaks through all of the nasty legal jargon and explains in clear and simple English, and with a touch of humor, what you should have in your contract and clearly clarifies what is expected of both sides [client and designer].
You can take all or any part of this contract to use for yourself. Tt has a creative commons attribution share-a-like license.
Freelance Web Designer Contract by Eskymo
This contract has also been written so that there is not too much technical jargon and not full of legal speak. Its for freelancers that needs something simple, straightforward, that makes sense and doesn't confuse or intimidate in any way.
There are no major legal terms in the document at all… it simply does what it’s meant to – lay out the information that the client has supplied [the brief], it says what you’re going to do for them, how much your going to charge and what deadlines there are. Nice and simple.
You can download this contract in either .pdf, MS Office or Open Office formats.
AIGA Standard Form of Agreement for Design Services
This professional contract does not take a one-size-fits-all approach, and it is not an extensive pre-printed document where you simply fill in the blanks. Instead, this contractual agreement acknowledges that most design firms develop their own custom proposal document for each project and are looking for an appropriate set of terms and conditions to attach to it.
When put together and signed, the custom proposal document and its attached terms and conditions comprise the binding agreement with the client. With this in mind, the new focus of the AIGA Standard Form of Agreement is on those terms and conditions.
Freelance Design Contracts and Templates from Sessions College
These templates, from Sessions College, are in Illustrator (AI) format, which means you can customize the entire document to your personal requirements. To access and download this contract template you do need to signup first, which is a pain, but worth it.
Sample Contract Templates
All of the generic sample contracts below have been written as straight forward as ‘copy & paste’ templates. You will need to edit them as per your personal and business needs.