Taylor Legal Blog

Why Every Designer Needs a Lawyer

Posted by Katherine L. Taylor, Attorney and CPA, Chief Problem SolverJul 29, 20190 Comments

If you're a designer, you've undoubtedly pushed out many of your personal creative projects online. In all likelihood, you've spent a lot of your time and hard work to create designs that affect others in a profound manner. All you ask for is recognition and credit for your creative expression — yet what happens if somebody claims your work as their own?

This is, by and large, a huge fear for many designers. Whether you're a graphic designer, a web developer or a UI/UX artist, it can be a flagrant offense when others steal your intellectual property. What you should know: you can legally protect your creative property. By partnering with the right lawyer, you can grant yourself peace of mind.

All designers are defined by the content they produce and when something as subjective as ‘creativity' comes into play, it can become a breeding ground of legal issues. Take a look at Apple and Samsung's patent lawsuit: after Apple had initially won the lawsuit in 2014, its victory was overturned on Samsung's appeal.

Designers need their own contracts and their rights protected above all. Here's how a lawyer can help you with all of that:

A lawyer can draft a contract tailored to your needs

Prior to entering any agreement between yourself and a client, a lawyer would urge you to prepare a contract. This contract exists as a formal legal document that both you (the designer) and your client are blinded to. The client must understand that before they acquire your services and commission you, the contract is there to protect your rights. Especially when time is of the essence, a lawyer will help you draft a contract based on the context of your needs and requirements even under the pressure of time constraints.

A lawyer saves you time and reduces your risks

In most — if not, all — contracts, a proper contract will have the designer's terms and conditions included in it. This is to create transparency and clarity between both parties. Your terms of services are another layer of protection for your and your creative property. Undoubtedly, you've come across other businesses' or designers' individual terms and conditions and they're seemingly filled with legal jargon. You might be tempted to find a terms and conditions template and substitute your name in, but it may not give you the customization and proper protection you need. Instead of putting yourself through the risk and hassle, a lawyer grants you the security that your terms and conditions are done the right way.

Lawyers help designers understand their rights

It's important to distinguish the difference between selling your work and selling your rights. While both reward you with your livelihood, only one protects your copyright. In the harsh reality of the world, companies can and will discretely add clauses to contracts that abolish your rights to your work. Without any experience, a designer can negligently gloss over the fact. A lawyer can help you identify these clauses, and can then proceed to either have the clause removed or, in the very least, have its scope mitigated. As a designer, it's important you protect your brand as much as your intellectual property.

Hiring a lawyer is the smartest investment you'll make. Not only will you grant yourself peace of mind, but you'll free up your time from handling the legalities of your profession. You'll have more time to focus your energy towards your passion, rather than redirecting it towards the constant worrying of protecting your intellectual property.