Can I have the editable version?


“If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” ~ The Joker, in Batman

Dear everyone who walks the planet, there are few things you need to know when working with professional designers … When you ask a designer for the ‘editable version’ of one of something they have designed for you do you actually realise what you’re asking for? I don’t think you do. Like, at all.

I am speaking purely from my own experience based solely on the way I personally run my business, so here are some words to the wise:

Did you know that in order for my designs to look as good as they do I regularly invest in fonts? This means I research and pay for well designed professional fonts, designed by professional typographers … it’s a real thing, I swear. So when you ask for the ‘editable version’ you’re asking me for my fonts for free.

Did you know that I have terms and conditions in place that specifically state that the deliverables, i.e. the final printed format that I have delivered into your hands to have and to hold are what you have paid for. ALL versions of ALL digital documentation I have emailed you in order to produce these actually belong to me. That was the quote, that was the deal, that is how I run my business and that is how I ensure future earnings. If you want to begin using someone else for your work that is hundreds, but they will need to start from scratch and try to emulate what I have already put in place. All this was in the signed agreement, I talked you through this, it’s highlighted in my terms and conditions which you accepted.

Did you know that I work in InDesign? It’s an Adobe product, it’s not something commonly used by my clients, so when you ask for an ‘editable version’ do you know that you’re asking me to do more work, for free, to recreate the entire job in another programme … for free? No you didn’t look at it that way? Didn’t think so.

Would you believe that I’m not actually being difficult here, that this type of thinking is actually the ‘industry norm’ when running a design agency? Did you consider that even if it wasn’t ‘the norm’ that I have the prerogative to conduct my business as it suits me, the same as you or anybody conducts theirs in the way it suits them?

You wouldn’t, for example, expect that since you bought a loaf of bread from Pick n Pay that you are in any way entitled to their bread making equipment, ingredients and the cooks time? No. If you want another loaf, you pop into the store and buy one. Simple.

That said, I am always open to quoting for the purchase of my full open documents, and please remember that all of the above will be factored in including the loss of future income, because after all I am running a business. This will be the jumping off point for negotiations … your turn.

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