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New member ***HELP*** Design being used and not paid for :(

Hi everyone
I just joined this forum as I need some help (and fast if possible). I'll be brief.
I designed a new logo and corporate ID style for an estate agent company in the south-east (UK) about 16 months ago.
Client loved the logo, letterheads, business cards and compliment slips etc. Also loved the design for their new office frontage - all done and paid for.
Problem occurred when the for sale/sold signs were designed (at their request).
Four/five different designs were produced with client amendments until the final version decided upon. Final artwork was sent to the sign writer. I sent in the invoice.
Then (one) of the directors said NO don't like the design blah blah, we'll leave the existing ones as they are and review in 6 months. Not paying your bill etc etc
Now it has been a year.
I have moved away from the immediate area and a colleague of mine this week contacted me and has sent me a photo of their new For Sale/ Sold sign.
Yep. You guessed right - Identical to my final proofs - and I mean identical, taken off the original artwork.
Right, that's the background, now I'll get to the point on why I need help.
Does anyone have/or can direct me to where I can get a legalistic style letter/template that I can send off to the board members demanding they pay (the original invoice) ?
I am not a lawyer (nor want to be) but this is such an open and shut case (yeah, OK, but it is trust me it really is) that I want to send a strong message immediately to pay up or (I will) take it to court.
Any advise will be greatly appreciated.
PS I'm also a photographer and know how useful member forums are but if I posted this on the Shutterstock forum I would probably get blank replies, it's not a photo infringement but a design use not paid for. I'm hoping that designers are my best bet.
PPS - I'd rather not get a lawyer involved at this stage (cost) but I have a good friend who is a sitting Magistrate that can advise me on the court procedures.
Many thanks.
Sorry for bursting in here with a big question straight off the bat.
I promise I will post back the resolution to this matter.
I've had a similar case with people using the artwork I've produced and refusing the pay the invoice. Then just ignoring anything sent to them.
The main issue is time and effort in pursuing it. I got told that it's not really practice to follow up these kind of things for anything less than £1,500 (even then it's a bit of a stretch).
Not sure how much truth there is in this, but that's what I was told by the family business lawyer.


Staff member
Yep. You guessed right - Identical to my final proofs - and I mean identical, taken off the original artwork.
are you saying you left your artwork with them.... if you did that's your first mistake in my opinion, I would have taken all my artwork with me if they weren't paying me like you mentioned. And to be fair that 'director not liking it' is a pretty old technique to not paying.
Did you take ANY money up front, if not that's your second mistake and third is 'letting them off' with the 6 months speel, it's not YOUR problem if they decide to not use it after you get it signed off (you did get it signed off right...)
Depending on how much it is worth to you I'd treat it as a lesson learnt the hard way and not make the same mistake again by revising the way you work with clients. I'm pretty sure NO ONE on here works without a deposit these days.
Having said that if it was me and I had the issue, I'd be taking a trip to see the old client in person.


Well-Known Member
As suggested by NCR, a cease and desist style letter might be a good first step (just googling "cease and desist letter template" gets some useful results), if only to prove later on that you pursued the matter. I wouldn't expect much joy at that stage though. I hope you get some kind of resolution to this. If all else fails, send the boys round. :angry: :angry: :angry:
Good evening everyone
I said I would get back to you with the outcome of the little fracas of an estate agent client using my design for For Sale/Sold signs having not paid for them and I have an outcome.
Firstly, thank you to those members here that provided suggestions for a letter, I appreciated your help.
I think I mentioned in my first post that a business associate of mine is a sitting magistrate so I enlisted his help in the wording of a letter that would hopefully get the desired result.
Even though I thought the letter was pretty good I frankly was not prepared at all for the speed in which the culprit both accepted their wrong doing or the speed in which they paid up!
The letter (I am attaching a partially redacted copy in PDF format) was posted recorded delivery to the company's registered office. The very next day (the day it would have been delivered) I received an email from the director of the company (the culprit) stating that they wished to settle the matter and make a BACS payment that day if I was agreeable - :eek:
I replied back that it was an acceptable arrangement and the payment was made in full that day.
Happy days :)
I though you might like to know it had a happy ending.
Many thanks again.



Sean Lee-Amies

That's excellent news! I'm glad that process was so easy for you, it could have gone so much worse. Someone somewhere, in their decision making process, probably had a person whispering in their ear that designers never chase you for stealing the work you didn't pay them for! Haha.
I hope you will continue to use the forums, after your victory, it would be nice to see you helping others :)
Dear Sean Lee-Amies
Absolutely. That was why I posted the PDF. Others are welcome to use it as a template and amend it to their own specific requirements should they too fall- foul of an unscrupulous client :)

Sean Lee-Amies

That's a great start, and thanks for posting the PDF! I'm sure it will help many others if they find themselves in the same situation.
So why don't you tell us a bit about yourself, now that the drama has subsided :) How long have you been in design for?