the contract

The contract protects both client and designer, and provides a blueprint for the work to be performed.

After an information gathering session, a contract is drawn up outlining the scope of the project and the responsibilities of both client and designer. Going over the contract lays out the process and approximate timeline for the job and acts as an excellent reference for understanding the progression of the design work. Of course, every design project is different, but the business of executing the design should follow a structured path.

The contract also spells out the idea of transparency between client and designer. I believe in keeping my books open thus allowing my clients to know exactly what they will be paying for the project. The client designer relationship, at its best, involves trust – trust that the budget is always considered and trust that all the information is given or available to the clients at any time.

The contract will also outline the design fee and fee schedule. All projects are different, but I often use a combination of fixed and hourly fee for my services. I charge a flat fee for research/design work/specifications, because I know how much time that work should take from conceptual design through client approval.

Hourly fees are for those tasks that involve the city (pulling permits) working with outside contractors or specialists (because I cannot determine the time required) and extra specification and design work outside that which is outlined in the original contract.