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  • permission to use artwork in my portfolio

    I'm just about to post a website with my portfolio. It has client's artwork that I created for them. Does anyone know of a gerneral written permission form that my clients to sign to say that's okay for me to use them for my porfolio? So I can save my butt!

  • #2
    Nope, you made it, you can use it. The only case where I would advise against doing so is cases where the work was used to close a deal that has not been made public and contains proprietary info - example: I once did some work for a high tech bed company to help them land a deal w/ Hilton and put the info on our site. Whoops...lots of proprietary & classified info in there. Don't do that

    Anything else is fine.
    Marketing tips


    • #3
      You can always put a note next to it explaining that it was created for.... or in association with...


      • #4
        Here's an example of that:

        Hope that helps...
        Marketing tips


        • #5
          The "you made it, you can use it" rule doesn't always apply. Work-for-Hire among other things come to mind. It can be considered a trademark copyright violation if a client decides to get hot about it.

          It's best to have in your initial contract that you reserve the right to use created pieces in your portfolio. That way there is no doubt right up front.


          • #6
            Originally posted by PrintDriver
            The "you made it, you can use it" rule doesn't always apply. Work-for-Hire among other things come to mind. It can be considered a trademark copyright violation if a client decides to get hot about it.
            I don't think that is correct. You're not using it in competition with them, you are showcasing your work. Lawyers do it, Home builders do it, Plastic surgeons do it. In any case, few clients will complain because it is free exposure for them.
            Marketing tips


            • #7
              Try to use an image of someone wearing a t-shirt with an "Old Navy" logo in it in a marketing piece.
              Same concept.
              It falls under the trademark copyright if you use an image with someone else's logo in it. If they want to get adamant about it, that'll most likely be their first objectioin.

              We see it all the time. Sometimes we can't use images of shows we've done because the corporate legal entities don't allow it. We can put Disney in our client list but we can't make it searchable. We can put up images of scenery we've done for them but it can't include characters and we can't use character names, movie names, or any other Disney-esque descriptions in web-searchable text.

              You can bet a lawyer has some kind of paperwork on whatever it is you are suggesting they are showcasing. Plastic surgeons darn well get a release on ANY picture they use of their 'work'. Patient right-to-privacy laws (on top of the rights of publicity laws) would skewer them for BIG bucks if they didn't. Homebuilders...well...guess it depends on what their 'model' is. The ones I know who do custom work always get a property release to take photos of a privately owned home or custom woodwork job...

              There's a whole legal side to Graphic Design where the rules get bent more often than not, mostly because the designers "don't think that's correct". Most times it's not an issue. Sometimes it is. Best to CYA. In the case of this poster, a simple, politely phrased letter including a simple release form and a SASE would probably work even in retrospect. They can only say, 'no'.
              Last edited by PrintDriver; 05-19-2006, 05:23 PM.


              • #8
                Funny how many posts I've seen in here about Designers screaming when someone had borrowed their idea or design.

                You may have "made it," but the customer might OWN it. Big diff.
                "I love deadlines. I love the 'whooshing' sound they make when they go by." - Doug Adams


                • #9
                  Actually, no. Unless ownership is specified in the contract, the client does not "own" it.
                  Marketing tips


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jlknauff
                    Actually, no. Unless ownership is specified in the contract, the client does not "own" it.
                    Like I said, "the customer might own it."
                    "I love deadlines. I love the 'whooshing' sound they make when they go by." - Doug Adams


                    • #11
                      Do it your way.

                      If you didn't design the logo of the company you are doing the collateral for, they own it. Even if you did design it, most companies insist on owning their own logo. Designers who attempt to 'keep control' of a client by not turning over the rights and ownership of a logo (and charging appropriately for them) are doing their client a disservice (and I gotta say I hate talking to surly designers when the client comes directly to me for a sign instead of going to the designer-who may not know the sign industry at all. Getting vector art is like pulling teeth. Creepy).

                      If you didn't write the copy, the client owns that too.

                      Some people may not want their corporate collateral splashed all over someone else's website. If they want the publicity from you, they will ask for it. Don't count on it as a 'favor to them'.

                      You are right in that you probably won't get slapped with a trademark dilution lawsuit, usually the first step is a 'cease and desist' letter, but why risk losing the client because you simply didn't ask?

                      edit: I forget that most of what you all are talking about are mom&pops, not huge corporate clients that have web-search services snooping out the uses of their name and mark. But the same courtesy should be extended to all business owners. And there is a difference between publishing a web page portfolio and carrying a hand-held, non-distributing one to an interview. A small difference though...The latter would likely be less objectionable to those who would object.
                      Last edited by PrintDriver; 05-20-2006, 12:18 AM.


                      • #12
                        Oh, and in actual answer to the poster's question, check the GAG Handbook. They have sample release forms in there. Modify one to suit.


                        • #13
                          In my project agreement, which each client must sign before I begin working for them, is the following clause:

                          "The designer retains personal rights to use the completed project and any preliminary designs for the purpose of design competitions, future publications on design, educational purposes and the marketing of the designer’s business. Where applicable the client will be given any necessary credit for usage of the project elements."

                          Feel free to use and abuse...

                          - J.
                          Jeff Fisher | Engineer of Creative Identity
                          Jeff Fisher LogoMotives | Twoot! Twoot!


                          • #14
                            Copy & Paste. Thanks Jeff!


                            • #15
                              Thanks Jeff. I thought it was you who had posted that before but wasn't sure.


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