Legal Guide for Graphic Designers: 4 Elements You Can’t Ignore

Graphic designers make up a good part of my clientele. I therefore thought it would only be normal to continue my legal guide series (so far, there’s one for influencers, stylistsphotographers, and videographers) with a blog post dedicated to graphic design legal essentials. Therefore, here are 4 legal elements you can’t ignore as a graphic designer.

Of course, please take this as legal information and not legal advice. If you have any questions regarding the legal aspects of graphic design, send me an email at


#1 Service agreement

This is the foundation of all the service-based legal guides I write and will continue to be so, until everyone understands the importance of having a proper service agreement (if you’re still in doubt, you can check out this blog post). Such contracts for graphic designers should include standard clauses such as a definition of the services, fees, and payments terms, as well as clauses that are more specific to graphic design, such as intellectual property clauses, and clauses that will prevent your client from modifying your work without your permission.


#2 Sub-contractor agreement

Many graphic designers with a busy schedule will sub-contract some of the work they get in order to be more efficient. When doing so, it is extremely important to put that relationship in writing. As with all intellectual property-based sub-contractor agreements, you need to make sure the proper rights are given to you in order for you to be able to provide your own client with the necessary work.


#3 Third-party content

Many of my clients have run into situations where their own clients asked them to either include third-party content that wasn’t theirs (so they didn’t have the appropriate intellectual property rights to be able to use that content) or content on which they did own the rights, but that was of very poor quality. It is therefore essential that you protect yourself by including a clause in your contract that will limit your liability when confronted with such demands.


#4 Taxes

You are required, in Quebec, to collect taxes if you have made more than 30,000$ over the last 4 consecutive civil trimesters. However, you should consider registering even if you have not hit that amount yet, as that will allow you to ask for a reimbursement of sales tax paid over your expenses (in this case, computers, tablets, design software, etc).


If you have any additional legal questions you would like to ask me regarding the legal aspects of being a graphic designer, do not hesitate to send me an email at or click on the link below to schedule a consultation.


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