Dear Design Doctor
I am a graphic designer and I need to make my terms and conditions. Can I just use somebody else’s or do I need to have this written up by a solicitor?
The Design Doctor for this real-life question is Patricia van den Akker, Director of The Design Trust:
“Terms and conditions are a type of contract between you and your clients. Terms & Conditions are created to explain your terms and conditions of how you want to trade, when and how you want to be paid, and they protect your rights, limit your liabilities and provide you with some security when you sell your products or service.
Many designers copy indeed terms and conditions from other businesses. But be aware that they might not be relevant for you. Also very often they are written in a legal language that you might not understand. Terms and conditions are unique to your business, and often updated in a business after they have had a particular issue with a client.
Your Terms & Conditions could include:
- Information about delivery and payment terms – when and how you will deliver and how and when you want to be paid (e.g. 30 days from date of invoice),
- Payment options e.g. cheque, credit card, pro-forma
- Minimum orders for trade buyers
- The various costs that are or are not included e.g. packaging, insurance, postage and who is responsible for paying them
- Terms on returning your products (e.g. faulty, inadequate packaging, wrong colour) and time limits of raising any issues – this is especially important if you sell online!
- Retention of title allowing you to retain ownership of goods already supplied until they are paid for
- Retention of copyright especially important as a graphic designer or photographer
- Void Circumstances in which the contract might be breached or become void
- Your right to charge interest on late payments
You need to make sure that your clients are aware of and agree to your terms and conditions. You can print them on the back of your invoice or price list, include them with a design brief and contract, or have them available on your online shop or website.”