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Advice on an error on large print run

Discussion in 'Printing & Print Design Forum:' started by den, Nov 23, 2015.

  1. den

    den New Member


    I'm after a bit of advice from fellow freelance designers out there please.

    Background of the story:
    • Designed a brochure A5 portrait.
    • Sent to owner for approval.
    • Approved.
    • He sends to print and gets 15k printed! Cost £3k
    • 2 weeks later phones to say that one of the images isn't recognised as the place it's stating. But can't prove either way, as I don't know the area.
    • Asks to cover the cost of the print.

    The image is on the inside cover about 50mm x 50mm in size. Text over the top. Do you think the client is within rights to ask me to cover the cost of a new print run even though I only charged about £300 for the 36pp brochure design? And they signed it off via email?

    Any advice would be hugely appreciated here.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    Assuming you've got a contract signed with t&c's etc.

    It really does depend on the t&c's for the contract, personally I have a part in mine which in essence states (can't remember exact wording off the top of my head):
    I will do my best to ensure there are no errors.
    Any changes to the design after the final signing off may incur additional charges.
    It is the responsibility of the client to ensure that there are no errors with content (ie words/photos) before signing off and I can't be held responsible if any are found to be wrong at a later date.
    I've also got a line about print/screen colour reproduction varying between screens/devices/printers etc.

    If I'm being totally honest though I'd say he's trying to pull a fast one because he's screwed up. Most people usually do a test print before doing a large run of prints, even if it's just on their own printer.

    I'd just gently remind him that as HE signed off on the design at an earlier date there's nothing you can do about the mistake HE found at a later point without incurring additional expenses. If he comes back maybe offer to change the picture for free as a 'gesture of good will' while not accepting responsibility for the printing error obviously.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  3. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Interesting one..

    Who sourced the images? If it was you, the client should have been prepared to validate each image. If it was them, then this is completely their problem.

    Assuming there is an error, your job was to design the brochure and the client's job to check that your work was correct and error free. By signing off he was agreeing that his company had done just that. My personal feeling on this situation is that if even the client isnt sure there's a problem then there's not really a problem and any request to make changes after your contract with them has been completed is potentially a chargeable request.

    If I were you I would offer to replace the image and resupply the artwork as a gesture of good will but make it understood that it was their responsibility to confirm the validity of all content before signing off the project.

    If you have a signed contract for teh project, point your client to the section that says by signing off they accept full liability for content.

    Levi pipped me to the post. lol
  4. Levi

    Levi Moderator Staff Member

    You'll just have to be faster next time :p or :p (um... why do we not have a sticky out tongue smiley?)
  5. hankscorpio

    hankscorpio Moderator Staff Member

    He signed off on the design.

    He organised the printing.

    Nothing to do with you.
  6. den

    den New Member

    Thank you all for the replies. I was hoping that was the case.

    I did source the images, yes. I don't have a signed contract in place. I don't know why but every time I have tried to do this it never gets returned and when it does it's really close to the deadline! I don't know if this is a common occurrence though?

    I've already changed the artwork (for free) and got a batch of x300 copies done at my existence (costing £560).

    They are a good client and have been regular with work, good payers. It's a tough one, as I don't want to lose them. But I get the feeling the guy knows it's his fault but needs someone to blame as he's getting stick for it. So I'm not sure how to play it with them.
  7. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    I just ask for confirmation on price, payment terms, signing-off of artwork etc, in email form and keep a copy of that.

    Hopefully you can work things out, but remember that you're running a business. If the client approves a design and sends artwork off for printing, then it's out of your hands. I always ensure imagery I source is pointed out to the client and raise concerns over copyright ownership etc, simply to cover my own arse.

    A good working relationship is important, but protect your own interests first – you'll be surprised how quickly someone will stab you in the back when large amounts of money is involved.
  8. den

    den New Member

    Thanks for your input, Paul. It's always good to see what other people do out there.

    Did you get a solicitor to draft the signing off terms and copyright ownership etc? I think it's certainly something I need to do.

    They say you learn from your mistakes, and I certainly am :)
  9. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    There are a lot of templates you can use for general terms and conditions for designers/developers/illustrators, etc, you just adapt them to your needs. Things like retention of copyright are automatic, you should have to make sure the client is aware of this before you start work, otherwise they may be a little disgruntled to find they don't actually own the work they've paid for.

    I'd only really go with a solicitor is you're a larger business, or you're starting a large project for a large client, since contracts change per project and solicitors aren't cheap (though a professionally written contract could save you a lot of money down the line). A contract is just a written statement or agreement between parties, and it can be written in plain English, no need for legal jargon.

    Again, you can find templates online that you can adapt to your needs.

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