Intellectual Property – Who Really Owns YOUR Design Files?


Business owners need to be aware that important website and design assets for your company may not be owned by you. In most cases any given small business will want to create a logo as part of their brand. Your logo will then be used on websites, business cards, rack cards, advertising, social media and more. Over the last 20 years that we have been in business, one of the largest challenges we encounter is getting what we call the “raw” logo from the customer. Most will have some type of a .jpg that can’t be scaled larger nor allow transparent backgrounds. This restricts how design files for print or other branding can be built. A .jpg is the finished product, not the raw file and can never be made larger without adding a lot of graininess.

The business owner often can’t remember who the original designer was, and then has to scramble to find a usable version by calling everyone they’ve ever dealt with, such as the company that printed your business cards. In cases where you know the designer and ask for the raw logo, over 50% of the time the designers say no. If you want new material designed, they say they’ll do it for you but will not release the raw file to you. Think carefully about what I just said. You, the customer, paid for the logo but you have no right to the raw file and are forced to deal with the original designer. This has never made sense to us; we have always been of the opinion that once the design is complete and final payment is made, you own the final versions including the illustrator file. We would far prefer you come back because you like the service versus being forced to.

For any business wanting to create a logo ask the designer these questions.

Listen carefully to the answers. If there is hesitation the designer could very well be using a logo creator program that won’t give you anything unique; and worse, someone else may be using the same logo design. This is typical with low cost logo prices, so beware of these companies. Adobe products, such as Adobe Illustrator, are always the best choice for professional designers.

A good quality logo cannot typically be created for $100.00. The best choice is always to get a consultation with the designer that understands business Branding and can help you create the right logo for your business demographic.

Most decent logos start at a minimum of $500.00. After all this is your Brand – don’t you want to ensure it’s unique to only your company?
Once you have your logo created and you have the original raw files in combination with .jpg’s make sure you have the same file types for other material you may have designed, such as letterhead, editable business cards etc… BACK IT UP in multiple locations so it’s readily available when needed. Time is money so try creating a page on your website called Media. www.xyzcompany/media. It can be password protected or not placed in the main navigation areas, this is up to you. Then when a reporter, web designer or what have you asks for your logo all you need to do is send them a link with all the needed files listed on that page.

For those business owners that already have a logo please contact your designer and ensure you have and own your Intellectual Property!

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