I’m about to hire a freelance designer to help me design the product that the launch of my new shop will be based around. I’m having a little bit of a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of ownership, when the product is designed by someone other than myself. I guess I feel like a fraud slapping my biz name on something that somebody else designed. And don’t designers hate seeing their work go under somebody else’s name? Has anybody else ever wondered about this or does this just sound insane…

Think about every single corporation: someone designed it, but you almost never see their name on it (unless it’s a designer piece that is selling the product because it’s designed by Starck or Karim). I think as long as you and the designer you hire both understand the end game and you’re both comfortable with it, it should be fine?

totally agree.

if you are the one getting the clients in the first place, synthesising the tasks needed to get it done well, then instructing designers to carry out the work - you are a creative director and have claim to the work.

This happens all the time in design offices: sometimes awards are given to the group not the designers themselves that did the work, consultancies do brilliant work for a client and they don’t allow the design co. to claim the work, or you’re part of a team and the lead presents the work… it’s all legit and probably better for the businesses.

All that said, you might want to specify it all in the contracts, and make sure they understand

If the terms are all agreed up front, and your checks clear, then no, they don’t care.

My $.02US.

YOU are directing the designer and YOU will, presumably, be paying the bills for manufacturing, shipping, etc.

Assuming your checks to the designer don’t bounce, your money, your name.

Now, if you’re feeling benevolent, you might ask the designer if s/he wants to allow you to use his/her name in association with the product … with appropriate remuneration of course. Every “known” designer started somewhere.

That’s the nature of design, if all parties agree then no worries. By default the freelancer maintains intellectual property rights to the design unless otherwise stated on the contract (FYI), usually transferred over after final payment has been completed.

Some companies offer a royalty fee to the designer as well, which you could do.

Thanks guys - this has been really helpful so far.

By any chance does anybody have a sample of a contract that I could take a look at? Something that would be commonplace for this type of thing?

I’m not 100% on this …but regarding intellectual property rights it is my understanding that unless otherwise stated, if a designer is contracted to do a specific piece of design work- all intellectual property rights as they pertain to the commercialization of that object are owned by the person/company who commissioned the work - not the designer.
The designer does have ownership over any original sketches/artwork. - But only in the physical sense (the piece of paper)