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  • Advice needed, logo design policy

    Posted by Steve Broughton on December 5, 2002 at 12:25 pm

    Don’t really see the problem Gray, the Cat dealer won’t have to pay you to do the lettering on the vehicle and probably will sell more machines because of the good will your logo has produced, tell them that you have been approached by the mining company direct if you like, can’t see a problem, tell the mining company that the copyright to the design is yours and give them the choice of your idea or let them pay outright for the use of the logo for other things. What ever happens you stand to get more work for this logo than just through CAT as these machine are obviously mega-bucks and the mining co. probably won’t be buying that many machines.

    Fat Bob replied 21 years, 4 months ago 7 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Tim Shaw

    December 5, 2002 at 1:10 pm

    I may be talking rubbish here, but as I understand it if you charge the customer for the logo design then they own the copyright, if you design the logo with no charge to them, then you own the intellectual copyright and they must ask you, or pay you, to use the logo.

    The problem lies in if they ask if they can use the logo on things that are not signs, & things you don’t produce , i.e paperwork, sew on labels for overallsetc.

    Do you refuse to supply the logo on disc or whatever, for them to use as they wish or even to give the disc to another sign maker.

    Awkward situation.

    If a company ask me for the artwork I gently enquire what they need it for and then I do my best to supply the artwork in a format only for the purpose they need.

    I never if possible give away the vector artwork but JPEGS and TIFFS.

    That way, you are co-operating, but not giving away too much.

    We have ‘robbed’ local sign makers artwork when a customer moves and they have robbed us, Alls fair in love and war!!!!!!

    Can’t afford to go to court every time!!!!!

  • Phill Fenton

    December 5, 2002 at 6:48 pm

    I really can’t see a problem. The copyright of the design is automatically yours to do what you like with it. If you wish to sell this design on to the mining company that is entirely up to you.

    As far as the CAT company is concerned, buying your signs does not give them any copyright on the design you produced. (I’ve bought lot’s of Beatles records in the past – but that does not give me any copyright on their songs).

    I presume the CAT company must have passed your name onto the mining company in order that they could contact you direct – so this would imply that they regard the design as being yours and not theirs.

    I think the fact the mining company liked your design so much that they now wish to adopt it formaly as their logo speaks volumes for your ability as a designer.

    I’m not suprised they liked your design – it’s excellent. 😀

    To answer the first part of your question:- I think the system you have is quite reasonable and generous. I work in a similar way, and have provided good customers with copies of their artwork free of charge in order that they may use a design on a letterhead for example. This policy is possibly not very business like (perhaps we should be charging in instances like this) However, I think the goodwill (resulting in repeat business and referals etc.) it helps to create between you and the customer offsets the fact that you are effectively giving away your design.

    If you were to change your policy I do think some customers on being charged for the design would not then think twice about taking it elsewhere to be used on signs. Whereas the customer who you have a good relationship with, who understands that you are being helpful – will automatically use you for any future signs. In other words your policy is probably quite reasonable. If it works – don’t fix it.

    I’m sure there are many who will say the customer should always pay for the right to use a design on something else, and that by not doing this you are losing a valuable source of income. However, if you adopt this policy, you may also lose valuable goodwill which is very hard to put a price on.

    Just my thoughts

  • Timmy Mallet

    December 5, 2002 at 7:40 pm

    I would just like to add to what Phill has said, it must be a nice feeling to have a big concern take on your design to promote their company.

    Well done Gray…


  • Robert Lambie

    December 5, 2002 at 9:19 pm

    Gray I think the advice given is pretty good… I guess it is just upto how you feel…
    You may well be getting into something that in the long run may not be worth your while… or maybe, more hassle than what it is worth I should say. What I mean is, even if you do which I reckon you do. Have the rights to the design. Think of the many ways around reproducing it and without your knowledge…
    I think your approach of the handshake agreement is pretty sound and probably the best way to do it…
    The customer feels you have done him a favour; he loves the design & will probably stay loyal to you for many years…
    If he goes elsewhere and you see your work… then it gives you the opportunity to chap his door and in a friendly, joking but firm way. Say, “I saw this machine blah blah. Why have you gone elsewhere?”
    Let him eat humble pie, and give you the on the spot excuse.
    We did something like this a few years back. Not entirely the same but similar.
    When we asked the guy he just said, “i’m sorry but it was our new guy that arranged it and the van arrived lettered… he then said I just assumed it was you that did it!”
    What can you do… he maybe telling the truth?

    Anyway back to your agreement.
    The fact you’re not taking a liberty of a large company of which many do. Saying ok, give me lots of money for that design is good business sense in itself.. the company maybe large. But the guy ordering the stuff maybe on a budget and trying to get the best deal. That’s sometimes what they take people on for.. solely for buying.
    Based on your agreement
    I have no doubt they will continue to use you & also refer “you” to every person that admires the logo. This is good. Big companies speak to other big companies…. And soon gray Hodge now owns “buzzing river signs” 😉 😆 😆

  • Martin C

    December 6, 2002 at 9:17 am

    This used to happen a lot in my old advertising days, but the other way round. I designed an ad for the local branch of a major window company using a rosette as the border and they adopted it for national campaigns. Then a Garden machinery company used the graphics for their ads on everything from letterheads to signs and van’s!

    On both occasions, and although we could have demanded payment, we used these ‘testimonials’ to sell our in house ad design services and made the customers aware that they were using them because of our goodwill and not because they had any rights over copy.

  • Martin Pearson

    December 7, 2002 at 12:47 am

    It seems that most people are in agreement Gray, at the end of the day it comes down to what you feel most comfortable with. We have designed a few logos for customers and I have always seen it as part of the service we provide. I know graphic designers charge a fortune for this sort of work but I am not a graphic designer and once the logo was produced would like to think I had a customer for life who in the long term would spend far more on signs than I could ever have charged for the design.
    If we do this sort of work and the customer then goes somewhere else to get his signwork done perhaps I will rethink my approach but it hasnt happened yet and the way I see it is it will only happen if I cant keep the customer happy.

  • Fat Bob

    December 7, 2002 at 3:05 am

    Im not up on Aussi copywright laws but the advice from the guys seems logical to me.
    IF were in your shoes I would try to do a deal where you ” Present them with thier new
    Logo in Return for the Publicity (local Press at the Launch) and try to get a designed and produced by River signs credit under every one.

    Best of Luck FB

    P.S. I belive in getting stuck in while the trail is hot so make a plan and get in.
    The guy you will have to deal with maybe one of the good ones.

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