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logo / Artwork you make for customer, thoughts - (Yes another one)

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Andy D, Oct 12, 2020.

  1. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    This is just a curiosity question, personally, after the project is over I don't care if the customer wants
    to use my design for other purposes, even signs.

    I was just asked about that by a customer, "who owns the logo" and it occurred to me that unless
    he trademarks that logo, it might be more protected if I didn't sign away rights ( he didn't ask for that &
    I have never been asked for that) because the logo is automatically protected as "Art" for me, I'm not required to do anything else... if I sign the art over to the customer, is that protection lost (assuming he doesn't trade mark it)



    This is from legal zoom:

    It must be your original work: it must originate with you and show some minimal amount of creativity.
     
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  2. Boudica

    Boudica Member

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    How are you "signing it over" to the customer exactly?
     
  3. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

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    Good question, I have never actually done it, I assume you sign away your right to the design via a standard legal form.
    The question is, if you sign away your rights of the design to the business owner, and the business owner never takes steps to protect it, would the design become
    available for anyone to use, were as, if you didn't sign away rights the design would have protections?
     
  4. Boudica

    Boudica Member

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    Now, I'm wondering about the protections you speak of. Who has the $$ for the Lawyer that will pursue and enforce said protections? Even a legal document won't prevent intellectual property from being stolen. The real problem is who's got the money to follow through with the "Protection"?

    My Dad and his wife live on some property (beautiful view overlooking Lake Coure D Alene). The property is sandwiched between other property. They have have a legal easement to use the road to get to their property. Ahole neighbors were pulling guns on them for traveling that road. They went to court and spent thousands of dollars to enforce the easement that was already in place. Not exactly the same as what you were asking about - just trying to say a legal document is only as valuable as the money you're willing to plunk down to enforce it.
     
  5. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    Good to know I have been in compliance all these years by showing 'some minimal amount of creativity' in my designs.
     
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  6. signbrad

    signbrad Member

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  7. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    For specific logo creation tasks, we charge up front for that. Due to issues with geometry and aspect ratio sometimes it is necessary to work in the logo design as part of the sign project. But the logo design is a line item thing since such work has the potential to involve a lot of revisions and burn up time.

    If a customer buys a sign from us, especially a large lighted sign, we won't have any problems giving the client digital copies of the logo to use in other advertising purposes.

    On the other hand the client has no right to our full size production art files, detailed shop drawings and other stuff like that. That material belongs to us. If the client is going to open another location but wants to shop the project around to other sign companies we won't give him any more in the way of files than just that logo.

    Regarding "logos" that are little more than a "word mark" set in a specific typeface, yeah that kind of thing is difficult to protect with things like copyright. One trick is investing in good quality commercial typefaces. New type families are often first released with considerable discounts, sometimes as much as 90% off. Then the price goes way up. A rival trying to copy your work would have to spend full price on that type family to match your work.

    In the end, you have to consider creating your client sketches in a manner that assumes your sketches will be shopped to rival sign companies and attempts will be made to steal your artwork and other information. If it's a repeat customer I trust I won't worry about it. But someone new and perhaps a little sketchy will get PDFs where all the vector artwork has been rasterized into pixel objects, maybe even trashed with watermarks. The sketch may be very basic on dimensions and other details. And the artwork may not even be to scale. Password protect the PDF on the editing level for good measure. The client's main concern is how the design looks and the price. He can see that just fine with a trashed PDF, but the same PDF would be pretty useless to rival sign companies.
     
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  8. signbrad

    signbrad Member

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    Good points, Bobby H.
     
  9. KatePhillips

    KatePhillips Member

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    I agree with this almost 100% - we charge for logo designs and graphic design separately from sign making - sometimes they go hand in hand. And sometimes we offer "yeah we can re-make that logo for you while we prep your large sign" - but after a deposit. We don't want to throw hours away for a client to take it and go elsewhere.

    Don't bother "locking" a PDF though, they're very easy to open. Just rasterize the proofs before you send them.
     
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