October 30, 2007 12:29 PM EDT
And Jeff, I am not suggesting that someone post work "with the hopes you won`t get caught" as you put it. I`m saying that "getting caught" isn`t even at all getting caught. By using a work for portfolio purposes, a designer is not doing anything wrong.
Steve, I wasn`t referring to a specific comment you made in regards to the "getting caught" issue. I was simply referring to the mentions throughout the thread of using work and only removing it if the use was discovered and the designer asked to take it down.
Unfortunately, in some cases, using work designed for an employer or client is wrong. Especially when a designer has signed away their rights completely with an employment agreement, confidentiality statement or client agreement. In a lot of cases the designer has not been wise enough to read the fine print of an agreement - and then is stunned when they are asked to remove work from their website.
For many businesses, especially design firms and ad agencies, it is an issue of only wanting the work associated with the name of company producing it. To be perfectly honest, there are many firms out there that don`t want it known who has done specific work for clients - especially when that individual leaves the firm for some reason. The previous employer has a concern that the client may find out and go directly to the the now independent designer for the design work. The cases do end up being legal battles in some situations.
I no longer do design work for other design firms or ad agencies because most would not allow me to use the work for any self-promotion purposes - on the web or in a traditional portfolio. What it really comes down to is the majority of these firms don`t want the client knowing that the work has been contracted out.
In putting together my new book Identity Crisis!
numerous design firms had to back out of participation because their clients would not allow the work executed to be published - even though it was simply being used to market the designer or design firm in question. Some of these situations involved major well-known corporations using the services of outside designers/firms. My publisher covered their rear-end by requiring that signed permission for use of the projects is provided - or the work is not used in the book. Employers and clients can prevent such usage.
I recently had a situation where I`d been negotiating project details with a potential large client for several weeks. Everything was all ironed out and I was told to send them my project agreement so we could get things going. The contract came back with the "designer`s rights" clause I posted earlier in this thread crossed out, dated and initialed by the VP with whom I`d been working. I was kind of stunned - from day one they had a copy of my project agreement and it stated I retained all rights to use the project concepts and final projects for my own self-promotion purposes. The firm was now saying I could not. I told them that if I couldn`t use their project for future promotion purposes I was not the designer for them. I was ready to walk. I didn`t hear anything from them for a couple days and then a new signed copy of my project agreement arrived with the original clause intact.
These situations do happen. Designers need to be pro-active in making sure they have all rights and permissions, to use designed work for their own marketing and promotion purposes, clarified and in order. It`s not something that should be taken for granted.
---Jeff Fisher | Jeff Fisher LogoMotives | Tweet! Tweet!