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Handing over original illustration files


Well-Known Member
Hi Folks,

I know this has been covered before, but not for illustration specifically.

I've just finished this large illustrated map for a theme park, which was put together in Photoshop, hence many layers. Client is pleased with it, but has asked for the original layered file, I presume to tweak bits as he pleases. This is not something I've done before, and I'm not sure I like the idea of it, so should I refuse or just hand it over? They will need to come back to me anyway if they need to add any more rides, etc, as they were all hand-drawn.

Anyone had this before?

I should've said, my client is the design firm working for the theme park.


Senior Member
It comes down to price I guess. You could (maybe should) have negotiated that into the original contract.

Handing over the design files isn't the same as handing over the copyright though (unless thats something agreed in the contract) so unless they change it dramatically they can't use it for anything else without your concent.


Senior Member
If you are concerned about elements being compromised, have you considered, flattening certain parts of the file?

Personally I would never hand over a PSD to a normal client, but if I was working for an agency, I doubt it would bother me.


Staff member
Was it mentioned/included in the initial consultation/quote? If no then not unless they pay you more.

Simple as that in my view.


Well-Known Member
No, it wasn't mentioned in the initial quote as I've never been asked to do it before.

I think as it's the agency I'm dealing with, I was looking for some justification for not handing them over, but I can't think of any. After all, if they need to add anything else to it, they need to come back to me anyway.


Senior Member
If your working for an agency (ie employed by an agency) don't they own copyright on any work you create while working for them?


Well-Known Member
The agency is my client, so I have copyright of course.

It turns out they only wanted to make a slight colour change, so hopefully they will
be able to do that from the high-res jpeg I provided them with.


Well-Known Member
Never had this issue myself but it sounds to my like they were trying it on to see if you'd give them the file then the colour change thing is an excuse when you didn't. Call me cynical.
Say no. If they want the layered PS files they should have stated the request at the briefing stage.
Ask for additional payment. It's you that's losing out when future amends are to be made.

Ask the question next time and give quote with and without providing the full uncompressed artwork.

As for copyright. You have been commissioned to provide artwork by the client. Once payed the copyright belongs to the client. You have sold your soul to the Devil.


Well-Known Member
Thanks Guys. New Year's resolution - start getting things like this sorted out at the quote stage. It doesn't normally apply to most of my work, but this has been such a big job, I don't want to get taken for a ride. It's mainly for a leaflet, but I should maybe have got more out of them for using it on their website and display boards etc. I always think it starts to sound greedy when you talk about extra usage fees. Anyway, they have another big job for me lined up, so maybe next time.

Typo, not sure what you mean about selling my soul - I will always hold the copyright as the originator.


Well-Known Member
The AOI site has plenty of info on this kind of stuff and you may be as well setting up some usage terms with things like this.
A bit of a "do as I say, not as I do" as I sign anything that I'm given and hand files over willy-nilly:)

They must have been happy with it to have another job for you so good call there.

BTW. The copyright will still be yours unless you've signed that away.


Well-Known Member
Thanks Scotty. I had a quick look on the AOI site a while ago and noticed you've been on their forum before . It seems you have to be a member to get the most out of it though. Are you a member, and if so, have you found it worthwhile?


Well-Known Member
I just had a quick look at the AOI site and it's changed quite a bit since I was last on there.
There were a lot of free resources on there before but I can't seem to find them now.

No I've never been a member but you can join the forum for free and there's LOADS of info on there and plenty of people in the know about things like usage contracts and the like who are happy to advise.

I think I once looked at joining but the only benefits were a free portfolio consultation if you were willing to go to London and discounts on some of their publications so I never bothered.