The most important document a freelance designer will ever need is a rock-solid contract for clients. The worst thing is, though, freelance designers, especially when just starting out, don’t even think about them.
As a possible cost effective solution for you, in this article, we have highlighted some freely available sample contract templates for you to use. You are allowed to use each of these samples in their entirety. Fill in the relevant personal, client and project details, and you can use them as your own. Or, you could use them as a reference when drafting your own version.
Whichever way you choose to use these contracts, it’s 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 little touch of humor, what you should have in your contract and explicitly clarifies what is expected of both sides [client and designer].
Freelance Web Designer Contract by Eskymo
This contract has also been written with minimal technical jargon. It’s for freelancers that need 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 you’re going to charge and what deadlines there are. Nice and straightforward!
You can download this contract in either .pdf, MS Office or Open Office format.
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 just 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 straightforward as ‘copy & paste’ templates. You will need to edit them as per your personal and business needs.