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Give original artwork files?

Hi all

Just wondering what your take is on the following:

Created an identity for a big company and they now want the original Indesign files I used to create the guidelines (they have all the printed copies in the their possession). They want to make some additions and I have the impression they want to take over the project eventually. Should I give them the artwork files and ask remuneration from them (once they are out of my hands I am out of a project) or just freely give them the files.


If they contact you to create a brand then they should be able to request the files how ever they would like them.

You don't have to give it them in that format but it sounds like there trying to save on costs, tough call but I think I would give it to them.
If they want to play around with what you gave them then I would give the a quote to buy out the copyright and they can do what they like with it. It just means that you wont be able to show the work in your portfolio, but they are going to change it anyway.

It sounds like even if you keep in the project you'll be taking their instructions anyway, and you'll end up with something you aren't happy with. If they want you to stay on board then don't hand over the files.


Staff member
And this is why I clearly state in my t&c's that all development files (in my case cad files, yours would be illustrator files etc) remain mine unless originally agreed on at the quote stage or additional payment is given to purchase said files.

It's too easy for a company to get the grunt work done and then utilise our files in house and manage to screw up the 'image' we have produced, all it takes (in my case) is a missing texture map. This not only can have them coming back moaning but could also damage our own reputation, especially if another company knows you've worked for them (another reason I have non disclosure policies).

As to your brand guidelines, I would have thought these were needed to be supplied when sending in the finished files for them to use or they wouldn't know how your files are supposed to be used .....


Junior Member
Could you not send them a locked down pdf, that will let them print it out but won't give them editing capabilities without a password?

I don't know if you can do it with indesign, but you can in illustrator so its probably not that different. When you create the pdf click on security and you can create a password and select what can be done without one. That way they don't have the original files, the can't edit or change anything, but the can print out extra copies as and when they need them.
sounds like a tough call, if you think they are going to cut costs sounds like you'll lose them eventually anyway. I would probably hand it over and keep in their good graces if anything else comes up or they might refer you etc.

ask for a testimonial or something in exchange.


Junior Member
Julian KNott said:
...or just freely give them the files.
Unless it was explicitly agreed at the start that you would be handing over source files (and that this would be included in the overal price for the work), then never give them away for free.

Clients all too often believe that they're entitled to these files automatically, and will give you the "But this is what I've paid you for..." line.

They haven't.

The source files are your raw materials for creating what they're paying for – a finished piece of design, be it a brochure, set of brand guidelines, etc. You created it, you own the copyright / intellectual property, etc.

Obviously as part of an identity job things like logo artwork should be supplied in the formats they'll need as part of an 'Identity Kit' they can use in future, but in the case of their Guidelines I'd be concerned that they want the files to "make some additions" after the initial branding excercise has been completed.

What additions are they going to be making? In what way are they proposing to alter the corporate style that has been set down for them? Are they going to start altering typeface, or colour, choices?

Sounds to me like they want to dick around with the identity without having to pay you for it.


Active Member
The original source files are your by intellectual property rights, ie:just like a Photographer and his negatives. Unless you wish to assign copyright and full ownership to them ( for a fee?) They have no claim on the files unless that is in the original agreement. A locked down PDF file is the norm.
It's a personal decision that is up to you, but we all know what will be happening in the future.
Does anyone have any advice about rough amounts to charge for the source files/IP rights if requested? I feel like I'm plucking numbers out of the air and don't really know how best to do it.