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Design & Layout work Stolen

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by farmfreshads, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. farmfreshads

    farmfreshads New Member

    Sep 10, 2012
    Hey guys, new user here. I need some advice. I've been working on a few logos & layouts for a local small business. This afternoon after receiving the quote the customer informed me that I was too high & she was going somewhere else. I informed her that it was easy for someone else to charge less money for signs & banners when all they have to do is open a file & hit print. They have zero time invested in this lady or the work that I've done. Before responding to her email I wanted to ask your advice....Is there anything that I can do to protect the work that I've done? She had a poorly pieced together jpeg logo when we started & I have since totally redone it & have it print ready. Could I tell here that she doesnt have my permission to use any of the work that I created? Should I send her a invoice for the design time? If so, how much? Can she give them the file anyway? Do I have a leg to stand on? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
  2. JoshLoring

    JoshLoring Very Active Member

    If she already has the actual art file from you.. You've already lost.
    Walk away and call it a lesson learned. Take deposits on everything. No money.. No work
  3. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    never give THE FILE to a prospective client. if you gave her a print of the design, you shoud have printed across it PROPERTY OF JOS SCHMO'S SIGNS.....and it should have no more the 72 DPI print.
    right now....YOURE SOL)))))
  4. binki

    binki Very Active Member

    Jul 23, 2007
    The PRC
    New customer = 100% non refundable deposit up front
    Established customer (open to interpretation) = 50% deposit up front

    No deposit, no work. It is called qualifying the lead.
  5. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

    Jun 24, 2003
    call the theef and let her know it is your work that made it useable. You expect to get paid. If she don;t like it,, tell her to "KMA"... And make her pay...
  6. signcrafters london

    signcrafters london Very Active Member

    May 22, 2010
    London KY
    If you only vectorized her existing logo and gave it to her, I'd bill her for that. If you created something new, I may think about trying to keep her from using it or making her buy it. I doubt you'll be successful in either case, however.
  7. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

    Mar 9, 2004
    If you gave it to her it wasn't stolen, was it?
  8. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
  9. Craig Sjoquist

    Craig Sjoquist Major Contributor

    Jun 18, 2004
  10. neato

    neato Very Active Member

    May 16, 2003
    Henderson, IL
    I feel your pain. I think everyone in the sign biz has been there at one time. This is why I feel strongly that we should never do design work without a deposit. I know in some cases it works well to sell a sign with a nice presentation, but as a rule, it's better to show your past work and use that to sell yourself.

    Your time and design expertise are valuable!
  11. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

    Aug 4, 2010
    montgomery, alabama
    NEVER send a customer ready to go art. I dont charge art fees but they get low res jpgs from me till its go time.

    IF she does take ur art. you could send an email stating thats your art and it was not to be used and try and scare her into paying but she has already proven she is a cheap a$$ so good luck
  12. signage

    signage Major Contributor

    Oct 5, 2005
    Welcome to the sign business world, and to the forums.
  13. "Deposit Please"

    "Deposit Please" Active Member

    Sep 17, 2009
    ..How much should I charge her??? (after the fact) seriously? Why are you designing anything without any form of payment in the first place. Like said, chalk that up as a lesson learned ..... Welcome to the Real World!
  14. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

    Sep 29, 2003
    Wetumpka, AL
    Call her and politely explain that you maintain the rights to the files you created and let her know what it will cost her to get them. Especially the logo file.

    She's going to scream and pitch a fit and refuse to pay it because you should have explained that before you ever started working on it.

    If she uses your files...and your work is distinct enough that you can prove that in court....and you're willing to spend the time to pursue it....then take your chances.

    Chances are you've just bought yourself a valuable lesson.
  15. Jillbeans

    Jillbeans Major Contributor

    Dec 24, 2003
    Butler, PA
    No deposit, no design.
    Ever. Period.
    I don't even turn on my computer or allow myself to even think about someone's layout until I get a deposit.
  16. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

    Mar 12, 2005
    New England
    You have just learned lesson 1

    but yes the files are yours and you can send her an email saying so along with the price if she wants to use them, but good luck trying to actually collect anything if she use them anyhow.
  17. farmfreshads

    farmfreshads New Member

    Sep 10, 2012
    Thanks for the advice everybody. I've been in this business for awhile. Guess I've had pretty good luck until now. I'm going to try & see what I can get from her. I'll let you know how it turns out.
  18. TyrantDesigner

    TyrantDesigner Art! Hot and fresh.

    Mar 9, 2011
    Amarillo, TX
    This. when you did the initial proof, if they wanted to proceed .. you should have priced right then and there and requested a deposit. (that was non-refundable) ... live and learn I suppose.

    oh and if it is her logo ... since she hasn't paid for it ... just let her know you still own the intellectual property of the logo itself ... if she wants to use it, just let her know that she can't trademark it nor can she expect someone else won't have it either ... or that you won't make parody signs based on that logo put around town for awareness for colon cancer research.
  19. jfiscus

    jfiscus Adobe Shinobi

    Apr 2, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    Chalk it up as a lesson learned if a bill for your artwork time (no printing) does not get paid.

    In the future, start pricing your artwork time separately from the printing aspects, and/or insert a clause about the artwork time being reduced if the printing is produced by you. We do this for fleet customers, making them understand the one-time artwork setup fee for their first truck, and then their future cost for subsequent trucks being less.
  20. d fleming

    d fleming Very Active Member

    Nov 28, 2007
    Middleburg, Florida
    Knowledge does not come cheap, you have to work for it. I'd say with the advice from industry professionals you have received here so far coupled with the sting of giving your work away you have just learned a valuable lesson you will not soon forget. You win.

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