How to Legally Secure Your Design Freelance Business?

How to Legally Secure Your Design Freelance Business

As a self-employed freelancer, you undoubtedly create original and valuable design projects for your clients. While doing this is great, it is essential that you give some thought to protecting your designs and brand from being misused, copied, or exploited without your consent.


Good designs improve brand images and contribute to users’ experiences. Therefore, your business is valuable. There are specific ways to protect your rights to your graphic designs as a freelancer. By learning the legal ways to keep your designs safe, you can effectively protect your work and prevent costly mistakes. So, how do you secure your design freelance business? Here are some guidelines.


Business License & Permit

Business licenses and permits are government documents that authorize a business to be safe for the public. Therefore, as a freelancer, a business license shows you can fulfill your job and operate within the local laws.


This document also implies that your design business is operated ethically, making it safe for clients and you. Business licenses differ; the kind required for your freelance design business depends on factors such as your location.

DBA (Doing Business As) Registration

Doing business as or DBA refers to your business trade name. This legal process is crucial if you are operating a business under a name that isn’t your legal name.


For example, your design business might be called “LiveDesigns,” but your sole proprietorship is registered under your name. Therefore, the purpose of DBA registration is to notify the public that your freelance business is being conducted under a specific trade name.


As a freelance designer, a DBA registration is also essential. It helps establish that your business is correctly named and registered in case of a contract breach or conflict.

Freelance Contract & Agreement

A freelance contract and agreement outline everything you and your clients need to know about a project. This legal document is usable in court. This contract contains information about the expectations of both parties concerning a project.


As displayed in the Lawrina Templates, you can create a section on how you intend for your designs to be used and how they shouldn’t. The freelance contract also contains information about service payments. This implies that you can establish your right to a project with a freelance contract and agreement.


Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

A non-disclosure agreement (NDA) is an important document that helps secure your business as a freelance designer. This document ensures that your work or ideas aren’t stolen while negotiating a business project.


Therefore, NDA protests your sensitive and confidential information, especially those you have no intention of releasing to the public. This document prevents losses and secures your freelance design business.

Copyright Transfer & Assignment Agreement

You own the copyright to all your works as a freelance designer, except if you authorize a copyright transfer. This implies that, without a written agreement, the clients received only a limited license that permits specific use.


So, copyright transfer and assignment documents protect you and your client when distributing creative works. It also clarifies the use and ownership of your design as a freelancer.

Licensing Agreement

A licensing agreement is evidence of a contractual relationship between the licensor and the licensee, which in this case is the freelancer and client. Typically, the licensor( you) grants the licensee (your client) certain rights regarding your design usage.


This contract specifies how your design can be used. The licensing agreement protects the rights of both parties and can be enforced in court if any party goes against the agreement.


Model or Property Release Forms

A model or property release form comes in handy for preventing specific infringements. This document validates that a model of your design or property has been released to a client for particular uses. Unlike with the copyright transfer, you remain the sole copyright owner of your released creative work.

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy

As a freelance business owner, it is important that you have a privacy policy on your website to protect your brand. The terms of service explain how clients and users can interact with your services.


On the other hand, a privacy policy spells out how you intend to interact with your client’s information. Therefore, terms of service and privacy policies protect your content and you from potential liabilities.

Insurance Documents

While being concerned about liabilities like copyright infringement, misuse of intellectual property, and the like, you should be protected against potential lawsuits. So, professional liability insurance protects your freelance business against inevitable mistakes that may affect your business and your client’s bottom line.


Invoices & Payment Receipts

While being concerned about liabilities like copyright infringement, misuse of intellectual property, and the like, you should be protected against potential lawsuits. So, professional liability insurance protects your freelance business against inevitable mistakes that may affect your business and your client’s bottom line.

Licensing Agreement

It is up to you to ensure that your clients pay for the work you deliver. One of the best ways to go about it is by using invoices. An invoice is used for services intended to be paid at a later date. To customize invoices to your specific requirements, you can search and utilize the best invoice app available online, that fulfills your invoicing needs effectively.


The receipt, however, is proof that the payment has been made. So, ensure you are appropriately compensated for your services using invoices and payment receipts.

Tax Registration & Documents

Tax registration enables your business to enjoy certain benefits. Aside from presenting your business as a legal entity, it qualifies you for loans and other business opportunities. Tax registration also opens your business to partnerships with other companies by enhancing its credibility. In terms of tax-related documentation, once registered it’s easy to use online tools to conjure up the paperwork you require. For instance, you can generate W-2 forms instantly with FormPros, which is useful for freelancers filing their returns as well as for design business owners who want to hire team members to grow their operations.


Work-for-Hire Agreement

A work-for-hire agreement has several benefits. Work-for-Hire Contract. One of these advantages is guaranteeing that the client does not maintain ownership of your product or services. This means that even if your work is purchased without a formal copyright transfer, ownership remains yours.

Non-compete or Non-solicitation Agreements

This agreement prohibits you, as a freelancer, from disclosing private client information to competitors. The non-compete agreement also protects the client’s privacy and the confidentiality of their communications with you. As a result, it is a good representation of your business.


Project Proposals or Quotes

Project proposals are used when you have multiple options for your clients. They showcase your solution or services to a client. A project proposal frequently includes multiple components. It could include a quote to let the client understand the cost of your services or an estimate. So it’s a matter of presenting the necessary information, such as a proposal or quotes.

End of Project Sign-off Form

This document indicates the completion of a project. The end-of-project sign-off form is used to notify clients that a design project is complete. This basic document is essential since it invites feedback, which helps to improve your services.



It is your responsibility as the owner of a design freelance company to protect your intellectual property. With the correct legal understanding, you can secure your brand, even as a freelancer. Fortunately, some of these legal methods have been listed above for easy implementation. It is also important that you protect your freelance business by educating yourself on certain rights and laws regarding your field.


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How to Secure Your Design as Freelance Business

If you found this post useful you might like to read these post about Graphic Design Inspiration.


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