You’ve finally done it: You’ve landed that big gig with a new client, or an employer that offers a real opportunity to advance your skills and career. But before you draw a single line, you want to be sure you have a few things nailed out in a written contract. To help you from getting shafted, or from not getting as much credit as you deserve, use these killer tips to improve your next graphics design contract:


1. Spell Out The Project: To avoid headaches later, be sure to sit down with your client and detail from start to finish the exact scope of the project. What kind of content will you be creating? What are you willing to design, and what aren’t you willing to contribute? Furthermore, be sure to stipulate how many drafts of the project you’ll be producing. This helps both you and the client get a handle on how soon and how far the design will go.

2.  Money Matters: Be upfront about how much you want to be paid for your efforts, as well as when you expect to get paid. Most clients will prefer you to be frank, as it helps them to plan as much as it helps you. If you expect advances for your efforts, be sure to write out in plain language when you want compensation. Don’t be shy, and you’ll avoid heaps of headaches in the future.

3.  Credit Scores: Also be honest with how much credit you want for your designs. Obviously, you are selling the project to the client, including all of your painstakingly crafted artwork, but if the other party is willing to attach your name to elements, jump on it. The more your name is spread around the better, but don’t be pushy. Be sure to stipulate exactly which areas you’ll be given written credit for, as well as which areas you will not.

4.  Material World: Will you be requiring any special materials from your client? If so, be sure to list these in the written contract. If you need any copyrighted materials, logos, or media for your project, be sure to stipulate how and when you expect to receive the necessary items. Likewise, be sure to give credit where your media deserves it: Work out copyright issues from the get go, and you and your client will be happy campers.