What happens to artwork when design company closes?


This is a possibly hypothetical question.

I'm looking into my options if I walk away from my business (for various personal reasons).
I have over 15 years of artwork on file, of which a fair bit is still in regular use.

Most of you will have taken on jobs which has resulted in the client saying 'the design company went bust' or 'the designer has disappeared'.
I don't really want to package up every bit of artwork and send to the clients; I have over 1000 on file.

What are the opinions on what to do with the artwork?


Staff member
Hmm? I get what you're saying as you don't want to 'be that guy' and walk away and leave them in the lurch.

Then again...do you want to be contacting all your old clients to give them the artwork or be digging it out every time someone asks for it.

Why not send out a group e-mail to say you're winding down and artwork files will be available for a reasonable fee?


Staff member
Thanks Scotty.

I suppose a 'handling and packaging fee' might be a palatable expression?

Thing is....They're your property and it takes your time to sort it out.
I don't think that's an unreasonable ask compared to recreating them.


Staff member
To be fair if you're organised in the way you store your backups (see below for how I do it) it shouldn't take long to 'package them up', it's more a cost of the materials and a small amount of time. I'm sure I could 'package' all existing files I have within an hour per client, but there would be a cost of a disc or usb stick because I wouldn't want to be uploading gigabytes of files even on my 20Mbit upload...

I think I'd do like Scotty suggested and send a mass email to all my clients (make sure you use bcc if you want to send one email to all to hide the other recipients due to gdpr etc), with a deadline for reply, and note that there will be a small admin charge of say £50 (+VAT if applicable) give or take (registered post, packaging and media). It's not so expensive that it looks like you're taking the p but it's high enough to show that it's going to take some of your time to do the packaging too. They should appreciate the fact you're giving them the option to get the files rather than needing to get it all done from scratch.

For reference my storage set up is basically (albeit slightly different due to being 3D based) stored in duplicate on hard drives/server AND on blu-ray
[company name] - [project reference] - [reference/client files/details] - [assets (these don't go to client as they might not have license)] - [materials/textures] - [stages of work - dated] - [finalised work - dated] - [files sent to client - dated] or similar at least

I will admit I'm trying to revamp it it a little at the mo to try and take into account gdpr request etc but still working on that annoyance lol