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Contracting For Successs

THE ART OF GRAPHIX

By DEIDRE M. BASTIAN

NOTHING can teach us what should be in a business contract more than experience, and unfortunately some of us have had to learn the hard way what the 'musts' are in a design agreement. Unfortunately, not every project goes well, and has the potential to turn ugly. Consequently, there may come a time when the enforcement of a contract is necessary. And it's at that point you'll thank yourself for having gone through the trouble of creating a sound legal document.

Clearly, anyone who is serious about web or graphic design understands the important role contracts play in the process, as it is a legal document binding two parties to a trade, and carries heavy weight should a dispute arise. However, I've compiled a few contract 'musts' for designers whenever retaining a client.

  • SCOPE OF WORK: The scope of work outlines the extent of work to be performed, including pages to be built, special functionality, design elements and so forth. A scope of work solidifies the designer's job, and is a good start in ensuring that the project is clear of ambiguity.

  • MILESTONES: Nearly all your projects should include a set of milestones to break work into manageable chunks. You should apply this same philosophy to your web or print design contract.

Outlining the milestones in the contract defines the different phases of the project, and leaves nothing hidden from the client. It immediately sets out what should be expected of the project.

  • DESIGN REVISIONS: This could be part of the scope of work, but you should always agree upon the number of design revisions allowed. By limiting the revisions, you protect yourself against projects that never leave the design stage. It is necessary to recognise that there should be compensation for additional revisions throughout the process.

  • TIMELINE: Always have a project due date, which ensures that the designer views your project as priority. If the designer is unwilling to set a time frame on your project, then consider that as a red flag.

  • CLIENT RESPONSIBILITIES: You will often hear clients say: "I don't know what I want, but if you design something I like, I'll know it". Wow, that's brilliant! As a designer you'll need to impress upon the client that they play an active role in the success of the project.

NB: Columnist welcomes feedback at deedee2111@hotmail.com

About the Columnist: Ms Bastian is a trained graphic designer who has qualifications of M.Sc., B.Sc., A.Sc. She has trained at institutions such as: Miami Lakes Technical Centre, Success Training College, College of the Bahamas, Nova Southeastern University, Learning Tree International, Langevine International and Synergy Bahamas.

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