Legal Services for the Graphic Design Industry

Far too often, designers complain about receiving very little for work that has contributed significantly to their clients’ success.

A key concern for graphic design businesses is how to ensure appropriate payment for work that could become iconic and invaluable to the clients they work with.  The right contract offers protection from underpayment and the devaluing of your work — that’s where we come in.

The secret of profitable work as a graphic designer is making sure you have the right contracts in place with your clients to receive fair payment and terms for your intellectual property rights. The outright transfer of all copyright of a work attracts a far higher price than limited use in a specified territory. Negotiating a fair price is the key to success and fortunately, we’re here to help.

Copyright protection is a core part of what we do. You can read about one such case where we represented a collective of artists whose designs were used without permission in a marketing campaign by a high profile footballer in collaboration with an online clothing retailer. Through persistent negotiation we were able to secure a generous compensation package for the artists.

For an overview of some of our services for graphic designers you can read more below and get in touch by filling out the form opposite for a free consultation.

“Having Briffa on my side and fighting my case really did fill me with confidence.

Every step of the way they guided me and kept me informed. My lawyer Thomas Synott is amazing and comes highly recommended. As a creative and small business owner I would advise the services of Briffa and and there excellent staff.”

– Anthony McEwan – IP Services Client

How Can We Help?

Our legal services for the Graphic Design industry include:

Trade marks

Over the years you have honed your design skills, put impressive work out there, gotten recognition for your ability to create impressive graphic design and attracted customers who you have nurtured a relationship with. All of this is tied to your name, your business, your branding. In the freelance and agency world this is an irreplaceable asset, and one which you must protect.

This is why trade mark registration is so important. Trade marks protect aspects of your brand identity, like names, logos and taglines.

We advise on a brand protection strategy for graphic design businesses. If required, we’ll help you register trade marks and combat infringement.

Commercial contracts

Contracts for a graphic designer or creative professional of any kind are the basis from which all work is produced. Everything from deliverables and payment to time scales and copyright ownership should be laid out in detail.

Neglecting any aspect of a contract can prove disastrous in the long run. If ownership terms are not in your favour this could see you miss out on potentially large sums of money. And if deliverables and their fees are not outlined thoroughly it leaves you vulnerable to clients demanding additional work for no extra payment.

To keep you secure and able to produce your best work we are able to offer fixed fees to draft, review and negotiate commercial contracts and documents.


Your design work can catch peoples attention, some of whom may wish to use it without proper permission or fair compensation. Pursuing cases where your intellectual property rights have been violated is often in your best interest, however, sometimes you may find yourself up against infringers with deep pockets. And for a small agency or individual creative this can seem an insurmountable obstacle.

To ensure that we can provide anybody with fair and adequate legal protection regardless of the opponent we offer insurance, called DesignProtect, which gives you a fighting fund to pursue infringers and protect your work.


Design is the thing that you know best, but is the style, shape, surface decoration and pattern of your designs properly protected? Registering designs can help designers and agencies to combat infringement and copying, whilst maximising their commercial value.

Our experienced team advise on both registered and unregistered design rights. We can also advise on a worldwide design protection strategy.


The value a graphic designer brings their clients is underpinned by copyright. The designers ownership over their creative work is what allows them to license or sell the work.

Its importance therefore cannot be overstated. And whilst it is an automatic right granted under UK law it is vital that designers and agencies monitor when their designs may be misused or when copyright for assets used by the agency may not be owned by them. even a simple mistake here could be extremely costly.

We can advise on how to best protect your creative assets. And we can support you if an individual or company infringes your copyright.

Confidential Information

Knowledge of the creative industry isn’t something that can be just picked up from a textbook. In many cases it takes years of experience and trust amongst numerous parties to fully develop a knowledge base from which a profitable graphic design or branding business can flourish.

This is all extremely valuable information to your business, as are your design processes, business data and internal assets. We can help you keep your knowledge secret with non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality advice.


We work with many graphic design businesses to carry out basic clearance checks on new name or logo ideas you are presenting to clients.

Our clearance service makes the process to sign-off smooth and enhances your reputation as a trusted agency.

Why Choose Briffa?

We’ve provided legal support for the Graphic Design industry since 1995

We offer a free consultation

We provide fixed fee quotes

We have offices in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and Malta

We offer an industry leading service with short turnaround times and business-focused advice

Frequently Asked Questions

What rights do I automatically have over my work?

Upon creation as the originator of a piece of work you are covered in two ways:

  • Copyright – the foundation of your protection as a creative. Ownership of the work, unless explicitly stated (such as in an employment or freelance contract), is automatically conferred to you. Prevents others from using your work without your permission. You may wish to grant permission to use your copyrighted works or to sell the ownership of that work, in which case the copyright is transferred to the new owner.
  • Design Rights – Design rights are a form of intellectual property that protect the appearance of a product against copying. There are two forms of design rights – registered and unregistered – with differing legal protections and limitations.

Should I grant ownership of my work to my clients?

It depends. For most creative work the client doesn’t require outright ownership, allowing your business to negotiate fair rates for usage and exclusivity over time.

However this isn’t usually the case with assets the client will use frequently, in a multitude of ways or for a long time, such as logo design, where negotiating usage is tricky and it may be in both parties best interest to transfer ownership (for a fair price of course).

The most important takeaway however should be this: Ownership of the work must be explicitly stated in writing to avoid disappointed parties or expensive and time consuming legal processes. Thankfully we have decades of expertise in intellectual property law and negotiations, If you require assistance or advice just get in touch!

What intellectual property laws should I be concerned about in my work?

Headaches don’t just have to come from demanding clients or unfavourable contracts, designers can run afoul of copyright laws themselves. You need to be protected when using assets such as fonts and images in your work, ensuring that you have the correct licenses and permissions for their use and eventual application.

Disputes between designers and clients are often caused by designers not having the correct permission to use one or a set of assets. This can be an honest mistake but prove costly for both the designer and client.

Our team of expert intellectual property lawyers are able to provide a clearance checking service for your work, guaranteeing your work is safe to use and building trust with your clients.

Meet Our Team

Spread across offices in London and Europe, meet our specialist lawyers.

Book a free consultation with one of our specialist solicitors.

We’ll start with a no obligation chat where we’ll get to know you and understand your current challenges.

Book your free consultation now

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