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Logo Design – Who Is The Owner, The Designer Or The Client?

Henny Kel by Henny Kel Tweet - in Logo Design


Why we have to ask this question since many of you may think that the answer is obvious – that the client should own the design after making the payment to the designer? Well, the answer is actually not that simple always. Many designers create trouble in transferring the ownership of their work for varied reasons and tackling such issues sometimes becomes harder for the clients. So, what is the solution
By ownership, we mean the client must get legal ownership and not just permission to use it. So, even if a client has paid to a designer for creating a logo design, still the client can only put the logo to use but cannot own the design legally. In such a scenario, despite the designer getting payment for his logo work, the client has no legal right over the logo design.

Importance of logo design ownership

Clients have their own reasons to have logo ownership since most of the clients need the ownership for frequent use of the logo. Since logo design is an essential part of brand marketing, a client needs all the legal rights of ownership as the design will be used many times on different surfaces and media and hence, would like to use a logo without copyright violation.

Another point of concern for business owners is the importance of their logo with their brand identity. If the rights are with a designer, then a client cannot register the design under Intellectual Property Rights. Unless these rights are ensured, the client always fears that the design that represents the brand identity of their business can be infringed upon.

Clients do not want to be entangled in repeated confrontation with the designers over logo design issues. This will create more problems for them despite paying the designer’s fees.

Why designers don’t transfer ownership

The designers know the importance of logo design for the clients and hence they want to deny full legal rights to them.
Many designers have royalty in mind for refusing to part with logo ownership. They want to earn money as royalty every time a logo is used in varied marketing platforms. This provides them a regular source of income.

Some designers are possessive of their designs since a concept and design are with a designer for a long time during the creation process and if the design turns out to be excellent, the designer wishes to keep it. While there is nothing wrong in being little possessive, but too much of it is certainly undesirable when transferring of ownership rights is concerned.

So, who should own a logo design ?

I firmly believe that client should hold the ownership rights. This is because the client hired the designer and paid the fees for the work. Once the work is done and the designer has been paid the fees, the work belongs to the employer.

The problem of logo design ownership comes up when the designers do not clearly specify the terms and conditions related to the logo design ownership. Both the client and the designer must lay down and mutually agree to all the ownership issues right at the beginning of the logo design project.

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Henny Kel

I am a graphic, web designer and blogger with over 6 years experience. I am very passionate about anything related to design and spends copious amounts of time hidden behind a book or a screen and reading about design. Twitter | Google +