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NDA or Contract?

Hey guys, I have a quick question.

A regular client of mine (an agency) has come to me with the potential of me re designing two hotel websites.

However, first they would like me to produce two home page wireframes free of charge, to see if they like my proposed ideas for the new versions of the site, as they don't have the budget for this planning stage.

I'm happy to do this as these sites could be a nice project. My issue is if they 'say' they don't like my proposed ideas and then in fact use my wire frames as a design guide but with a different designer.

Would a quick NDA agreement be a good idea for me to use in a situation like this? Or should I just write up a really simple contract that states they can't use my ideas unless they use me for the design?

Your thoughts would be much appreciated!



Staff member
An NDA agreement wouldn't really work in that situation in my opinion. NDA's usually are there to prevent work getting into the open domain/competitors hands ahead of any company announcements, not for stopping the client from using your work, well that's how mine have all been anyways.

This is the problem with doing free work, the agency is basically going to get what is arguably one of the more expensive aspects of the website design done by several companies and then pick and chose the best option(s) from the designs.

Also in my view, if they want to update a site (or any other work) then they should have the budget for the WHOLE process not just the finished product.
Hi Levi,

Yes, I agree with you and I don't usually do anything for free if I'm honest! It was just the fact that these websites could be really good that has enticed me.

Perhaps I should explain that to the client?


Staff member
raise the concerns and see what they say, I'll admit I've done things before meeting a client to entice them into using me over others (I'm sure others have too) but it's done without the explicit request being in the brief and as such is my choice to do so.

I suppose you have to look at it from the perspective is the overall value worth the risk for say a few hours of your work.


Active Member
Hi Will,

As Levi as mentioned, the client could be tendering this out to a number of designers then choose a combination of the concepts, I think it would be very tough to get a contract that is 'water-tight' on this, as the client could argue that the wireframe you submitted was very similar to designer x, if you get my point?

Let us know how you get on with this.