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What's proper etiquette if a prospect sends you a competitor's proof for pricing?

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by WhatsYourSign?, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. WhatsYourSign?

    WhatsYourSign? Member

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    Would you make the sign exactly as your competitor drew it up? Make changes so it's not completely ripping off their work?

    We get pricing approval before we do any design work for this reason, but I'm sure these things work both ways.

    I don't think we should turn down the work, but I do want to run my business ethically.


    Looking forward to everybody's thoughts!
     
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  2. fresh

    fresh Very Active Member

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    On one hand, its shitty and you shouldn't copy other people's work.

    On the other hand, the other company shouldn't have provided the person with artwork that they could then take somewhere else.

    And like you, we do not do any artwork without a deposit for exactly this reason.
     
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  3. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    Another company trusting a potential client to not share their original artwork for the purpose of others duplicating does NOT excuse you from violating both the spirit and letter of the laws pertaining to copyright infringement. There is no grey area on respecting other creative people's intellectual property rights regardless of the lack of ethics your new client possesses.

    Just because sign people have gotten used to it happening and the victims of it don't take it seriously enough to sue both the client and the vendor who copied their work, we SHOULD take it more seriously.
     
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  4. petepaz

    petepaz Major Contributor

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    we normally don't supply proofs with out an official order/PO if they cancel we will charge them for any artwork we created. (we got burned a few times and don't do it anymore unless its a good customer who has been around a while and you know they aren't going anywhere else.)
    we have priced and gotten jobs off of another company's proof but you still have to re-create everything. it's not like they supplied you production ready art and all you have to do is hit print. usually they give you a faxed or printed copy of the proof not anything you can use. it may not be the most ethical but you may also lose future business if you just turn the person away.
     
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  5. signpro

    signpro Manager

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    i tell the customer i cannot use that artwork that someone else created. we can redraw it differently, or they can pay that other company for the artwork, show me the receipt and written consent from the other shop for use, then we can use it. (but what other shop will approve someone else to use their work.)

    if the customer is dead set on using me for the their sign, we tell them we need to make distinct changes to the artwork, otherwise it is un-ethical as i wouldn't want that happening to me either.
     
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  6. WhatsYourSign?

    WhatsYourSign? Member

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    That was a nice rant and all but would you mind hopping back up on your soap box for a moment and sharing what you would do?

    All you've done so far is said don't ripoff their artwork (which I already agree about)...but what next steps would you take? Would you flat out decline to work with them? Would you tell them you'll work with them but only if it's with an entirely different design? A certain % of the design needs to change?

    I'm not trying to be a jerk but your initial response wasn't helpful.
     
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  7. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    If it's the customers letters on a picture the competitor took, roll with it. If you are going to redraw their own logo based on what the competitor did, then do it yourself. If the competitor generated a new idea for the artwork, I would price it to fab, but I would ask the customer to get a release for the artwork, get the company to email me the files that you(the customer) are buying from them, and then I can do it. Otherwise I can't replicate someone else's work for obvious reasons.
     
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  8. Joe House

    Joe House Active Member

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    I don't get into this position because of what I do, but that doesn't keep me from offering a suggestion - so take it for what it's worth...
    Let the potential customer know that you'll have to get permission from the original company to use their design (if it's more than a "Grand Opening" banner or something else stupid simple). Or you'll have to design your own offering for a charge. And I'd let the competitor know that this customer is shopping around his design. This may create a new or improved working relationship with your competitor.

    Again, no experience with this, but a thought on how I'd handle it.

    Good Luck
     
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  9. bannertime

    bannertime "You guys do banners, right?"

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    I agree with Tim here. Also, we start by asking them to provide the production artwork that they showed us. Typically we get a run around response and we state that we'll have to recreate it completely. Typically we're able to generate something the customer likes. There's a reason that they didn't use the original shop; ask them why.

    My question, which happens way more than being supplied a competitors layout, is: what's the legality of duplicating a vehicle layout. We've had customers ask us to do a van up to match their other one. Logo with text and some stock photos of their products or something. That's one I've always been unsure of. Same with business cards. A company will ask us to do their cards, but they want to use the same layout as before.
     
  10. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    Sorry that the combination of all the logical, common sense rationale I provided wasn't helpful and was perceived as a rant. This all should be and what to do painfully OBVIOUS to anyone in a creative endeavor for any length of time.

    Our shop's reaction would be like most everyone else who has responded.

    Ask the potential client for the waiver/release they should have gotten from the other shop if they paid for the artwork and intended to shop it around. If evasive or if it doesn't exist, we'd tell them that we respect the copyright laws and would not duplicate someone else's intellectual property without clear proof that it had been paid for and released from infringement protection. As far as altering the work in a minimal way to satisfy your conscience and the client that you aren't guilty of infringement, I'd use your best judgement and think of what a jury might think about your attempt if you were sued over it and the original and your altered design were placed next to each other.
     
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  11. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    If the client is looking for a price, quote it and include an artwork charge in there, put a note that the artwork charge will be waived if they supply print ready artwork.

    I think asking them to supply you with print ready artwork is enough due diligence on my part, I assume that if they have print ready artwork, they also have the rights to use it, I realize that this may not always be the case but I'm not going to start investigating any further.
     
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  12. SightLine

    SightLine Very Active Member

    If they have a copy of artwork we have created for them, we have already gotten paid for it....
     
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  13. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    In most cases, if someone brings us someone else's artwork, we won't use it, mostly because it's gonna be subpar work, so it's nothing for us to at least see some of the colors they like and maybe what's important to them, but we generally won't copy, unless we know they paid or designed it themselves. Again, if this happens, it's because someone goofed and didn't get paid. Their bad, but I won't cash in on it.

    Last Saturday, some guy called me, needing a banner for that following Monday morning first thing for an event starting on Friday. I said, I could have it Monday afternoon. I gave him prices and we agreed on everything. However, he was at work Monday and couldn't get by to drop off the deposit. He asked if I would trust him..... so I did. Did his layout and hadda re-do it cause he sent me the wrong logo. He asked when it would be ready. I said, by the end of the day. Then he said, is that your best price ?? Uh-oh........................:banghead: He said, well that's a lotta money and I'm not rich. I said, but we already agreed on everything. Yeah, but I hafta ask to get it cheaper. You know how that is. I said, I know you ain't gonna be shopping my design around.... are you ?? He said, he thinks he'll hafta go elsewhere, since I was being hard about all this and he hung up. Lesson is, don't believe anybody....
     
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  14. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    Not every shop is as diligent as yours in not providing artwork of a quality that can't be easily reproduced. We ourselves gauge the job and try not to produce anything that comes close to print ready artwork as a proof, but it does happen to the best of us.

    This is mostly on the client and their lack of ethics or ignorance of the intellectual property rights and ethics involved, but it should not absolve us of acting appropriately.
     
  15. spectrum maine

    spectrum maine Member

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    it depends on who owns the logo. If the logo is cut & dry with a box drawn around it then no problem. If the entire look is conceived by the other sign company then man up & draw something better. (not cheaper). It takes a good designer & salesman to upsell the customer, be that type.
     
  16. backwoodsgirl

    backwoodsgirl Member

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    I used to be respectful to my fellow shop owners by refusing to use their artwork without permission... til I realized they will never do the same for me. Lesson learned! I try to produce something BETTER though, always!
     
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  17. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    I have 0 issue with recreating a sign that a customer already has. I believe this to be a radically different scenario, as I'm not jacking artwork to cut corners, I'm building my own version that someone else presumably got paid to produce once already.
    Yeah yeah, I've got a pair of banners for this same SOB. Let me know when you find him...
     
  18. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    This is what I emailed to a client that did the same thing to me..


    I'm very sorry but I can't.

    The reason I don't produce a design before receiving payment is because there is a risk that the customer can take it and go to another sign company that will produce it cheaper. Over the years I had a few of my mock-ups copied and would drive by and see them and that's not a good feeling.

    ******* and I deal with each-other often, as I do with other sign companies around town and I wouldn't want to jeopardize my reputation with them by reproducing their artwork... That and they have a disclosure on the artwork that says it can't be copied.

    I appreciate you thinking of me when it came to this sign and don't want to discourage the business at all, I would just have to design something different. I understand that sometimes a mock-up is needed before moving forward with the entire order, and in those cases I charge $125 upfront, which can be credited back towards the sign once you're ready to move forward with production.
     
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  19. GAC05

    GAC05 Major Contributor

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    I would have replied with a darker shade of blue text, but that's just me.
     
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  20. kcollinsdesign

    kcollinsdesign Member

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    If I can do better, I tell the client, and give him/her an estimate. If I like the design the client brought in, I tell the client to get reproduction rights from the creator and quote just the production. I also ask for the creator's contact info to avoid any mis-understandings.

    It's the same process I use reproducing corporate logos. I always check with the companies branding and standards people. It's amazing how many people who actually work for a company are unaware of approved logo and graphics standards procedures. Usually my discussions with the corporate branding people are fruitful and lead to other jobs.
     
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