Tensions of a Designer: Contract or Good-Faith Work


The clients of this industry have shifted drastically in the past couple of years. When I first started doing graphics for people, I had never even thought of doing a contract with people to ensure I got paid for my work. It never had been a problem, my clients respected my work and my craft and felt responsible for compensating me for that work.

Flash-forward to 2018, and more times in this year than in my entire 10 years of designing, I've had clients, and even worse of, some of them being friends, ask for my help in a design and pull the rug underneath of me after hours of concepts, revisions, dreaming and creating designs for them. This usually occurred after dodging my emails and follow up calls for a week or so, then a vague going in another direction response. This is 2018. There are so many options that people can get what they want whenever and wherever at any cost. Respect for good, honest work is fading into the sunset of clients not willing to follow through on work done. Clients forget that a designer pours their heart and emotions into every design and when the rug gets pulled, you're dealing with a lot more than just not working anymore. It speaks to the esteem of the designer, that what they made wasn't good enough regardless if it was or not to the client. It makes it much harder to forget when your heart is connected to your work. 

So now in 2018, this is where I stand. A good friend will always respect a contract because they were planning to compensate you anyways. A good client will respect a contract because they understand the nature of your work and the time invested. Doing favors for people now only costs you, because people can drop out at any point and not need you. A contract is an understanding when signed that the project you're working on is valuable to them and needed. If someone can't sign a contract, then it's not worth the time. Sadly, even in ministry, the handshake and good-faith method is a lost art and only will cost you your livelihood.