Designers

What do you do when clients ask for working files? My bf is freelance and is worried that if he gives them out he'll lose any future work with them.

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Check the contract. In most cases, the agency/ client owns everything that is created. This means the working files as well. Way around this, and what I do in my freelance is follow up with “I will have to prep the files for release, but on the off chance, what work do you think will need to be done? I will be glad to help with [x, y, z] in the future.” Besides that, at the end of the day whether you are a designer, an editor, or a 3D artist, you will probably have to give up the working files at some point.

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Thank you for your reply! Very helpful.

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Just give the files, don’t worry about it. The work files are just for production purposes. Work files do not contain your mind or your talent.

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Working files for what exactly? This may also be a lesson for your BF to price better. I only say that with what little details you provided. Let’s say he created a magazine ad. Yes, the client may easily be able to swap out that picture to create multiple ads from his one design. However, would they know how to translate that to social media, a billboard, and other formats? It’s with that their experience (or lack thereof) will show. I work at a digital agency and we always hand off website deliverables to clients. There are those that thank us and go about their way. Then there are those who we give WordPress training to, etc but they still do business with us to do simple things like create a new header for them. Where I’m getting at is he should always know the scope of the project. How will his work be used? What’s the end goal? If he never gets extra business from them then he shouldn’t be discouraged. Get a testimonial from them and move on to find more long-term clients.

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Put everything in writing at all times. Over clarify what they get if you are making the sow. There can always be a change order and with such is a negotiation that leaves both parties satisfied.

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He could make the files a little more difficult to work with: convert text to outlines, flatten everything to one layer, don’t give the layered Photoshop working files, only the final images. On the other hand, if they want to work with another designer, they will, so it’s better to keep a good relationship with them for future jobs.

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Yes, you could flatten and outline the files but that’s not a good way to do business. If you make it difficult you’ll lose the client for sure. Make them like you and see your value and the client will give you repeat business when they are able. Be as helpful and proactive as you can. Some projects are “one and done” and that’s ok.

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