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Freelance Graphic Designer's Contract (Assignment of Work)


This Freelance Graphic Designer's Contract (Assignment of Work) has been designed for use by an individual freelance graphic designer contracting personally to provide his services to a business client.

This document has been updated with a simplified data protection clause which refers to a separate data protection policy (or similar). Full details of personal data use should be provided in that document.

The accompanying Freelance Graphic Designer's Agreement (Assignment of Work) template is to be used instead by the graphic designer when he contracts through his personal service (or other intermediary) company rather than directly. (The information page with that template includes guidance about tax, employment status, IR35 and agency workers, where an intermediary company is used).

This agreement aims to reduce the risk that the freelancer might be deemed to be a de-facto employee of his/her client rather than a sole trader who is a self-employed contractor. However, whether he is treated by HMRC, a tribunal, or any other body, as self-employed will depend not only on what is contained in his contract but also on all other circumstances: those circumstances will include the way in which the contract is implemented and the conduct of the client, the freelancer and anyone the freelancer engages to do any of the work for the freelancer, and all related arrangements between them.

HMRC provides some guidance on its website about self-employment. Its decisions as to whether someone is a self-employed sole trader are often based on a “balancing exercise” in which it gives weightings to various factors. However, neither the HMRC guidance nor case law are sufficiently precise to enable anyone to predict how in any particular case the “balancing exercise” would be carried out or what HMRC’s conclusion would be about that particular case. For that reason we recommend that you take professional employment law, tax, and NIC advice in relation to your particular circumstances before you decide to use or adapt this template.

Nevertheless, a carefully worded contract ensuring the independence of the freelancer is a key starting point. As a self-employed freelancer (rather than as an employee of the client), the graphic designer is, for example, free to engage a suitably qualified person to do some or all of the work in his place, is free to determine when, where and how work is completed (subject of course to the client’s requirements), is free to take on other clients, and most importantly may be subject to penalties if the work is not completed on time.

Payment under this agreement may take the form of a flat fee or an hourly rate.

Moreover, the fee also serves as consideration for the assignment to the client of the copyright (and any other IP rights) in the work produced by the graphic designer. This means that the client will own exclusively all IP rights in the work produced by the graphic designer, and so the client will be free to use and exploit it as it wishes. The graphic designer will consequently not have any right to make any use of it at all for his or any third party purposes, and he may wish to take that fact into account when negotiating the amount of fees to be paid to him.

An alternative version of this document provides for all IP rights to be exclusively owned by the graphic designer so that he is free to use the work as he wishes, but with the client nevertheless having a licence to use the work for a specific stated purpose (but not any other purpose). That version also allows you to select suitable wording for the client to have those licenced rights either indefinitely or for a fixed period stated in the document.

Optional phrases / clauses are enclosed in square brackets. These should be read carefully and selected so as to be compatible with one another. Unused options should be removed from the document.

This Freelancer Graphic Designer's Contract (Assignment of Work) contains the following sections:

1. Definitions and Interpretation

2. Engagement of the Designer

3. Nature of Engagement

4. Self-Employment Status of the Designer

5. Fee

6. The Work and Intellectual Property

7. Warranties and Indemnity

8. Liability

9. Confidentiality

10. Termination

11. Data Protection

12. Force Majeure

13. Nature of the Agreement

14. Severance

15. Notices

16. Alternative Dispute Resolution

17. Law and Jurisdiction

and the following schedules:

Schedule 1:

The Work

Name of any Consultant engaged by Designer

Schedule 2: Privacy Notice

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