Updating documents

A successful project provides understanding and empathy towards client's needs and circumstances and designing to those needs – which is far more than anything that can be outlined in a contract.

Even the best contract cannot cover every last scenario, and nothing can substitute for good personal relationship with your client.

Often called a “Letter of Agreement”, this contract is a short description of the project, schedule, fees and relevant terms and conditions in an informal letter format on the designers letterhead.

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Changes and negotiations to project specifications and terms and conditions are expected.

The final goal is to have one comprehensive document that, when accompanied by an appropriate set of terms and conditions and signed by both parties, serves as your contract for the project.

A full set of terms and conditions over multiple pages can be daunting to both you or your client.

The more informal approach of a letter signed by both parties can be used.

However, this guide does assume that the order of events to reaching the contract stage for each client is similar.

The basic theory is that a client or potential client will contact you and provide details of a project they need completed, then you will provide a price quote, time estimate and any terms & conditions, both of you will agree, you’ll do your work and get paid.

The events may be the same, but the difference is in the detail of the documents you create for the client.

Before we get started, it is a good idea to define what a contract is to a business. It helps define a business relationship between you and your client.

If you are having trouble with a client, don’t give up just because your contract is an oral one. According to an AIGA poll only 48 percent of designers polled use a contract for every project.

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