CREATIVE BRIEF (Public Version)

I aimed to make the brief professional while still maintaining a slight casual tone. I added clauses regarding payment schedules as well as service fees and subscriptions.

Date: [date]

Between myself, [your name], on behalf of [my company] and you [customer name] on behalf of [your company/business name]


1. Summary

I will always do my best to fulfill your needs and meet your expectations, but it’s important to have things written down so that we both know what’s what, who should do what and when, and what will happen if something goes wrong. In this contract you won’t find any complicated legal terms or long passages of unreadable text. I have no desire to trick you into signing something that you might later regret. What I do want is what’s best for both parties, now and in the future.

So in short:

You ([customer name]), located at [customer address] are hiring me, [my name], located at [address], to [design and develop a web site] for the estimated total price of [total] as outlined in our previous correspondence. I will lay out the details in the following paragraphs.

2. What do both parties agree to do?

You have the authority to enter into this contract on behalf of yourself, your company or your organisation. You will provide me with materials such as text and image content as I need them and in the requested format . You will review my work, provide feedback and approval in a timely manner too. Deadlines work two ways, so you will also be bound by dates we set together. You will also agree to stick to the payment schedule set out at the end of this contract.

I have the experience and ability to do everything I have agreed with you and I will do it all in a professional and timely manner. I will endeavour to meet every deadline that is set and on top of that I will maintain the confidentiality of everything you give me.

3. Project Specifics

3.1 Design

I create ‘personality-oriented’ designs that communicate and connect your personal goals with that of your clients within the community consisting of flexible layouts that adapt to the capabilities of many devices and screen sizes. I may use static visuals to indicate a look-and-feel direction (colour, texture and typography) but I create iterative designs and use predominantly HTML5 and CSS3 so I won’t waste time mocking up every template as a static visual.

You will have weekly opportunities to review my work and provide feedback via my preferred online Project Management Application, telephone, or a face-to-face meeting, whatever is most convenient. If, at any stage, you are unhappy with the direction of my work and decide to cancel the project, you will pay me in full for everything I have produced until that point and cancel this contract.

3.2 Text content

I am not responsible for writing or inputting any text copy. If you would like me to write new content or input text for you, I can provide a separate estimate for that.

3.3 Photographs

You should supply graphic files in an editable, vector digital format. You should supply photographs in a high resolution digital format. If you choose to buy stock photographs, I can suggest stock libraries. If you would like for me to search for photographs for you, I can provide a separate estimate for that.

3.4 HTML, CSS and Javascript

I deliver templates developed from HTML5 markup, CSS3 stylesheets for styling and unobtrusive Javascript for feature detection, polyfills (backwards compatibility) and behaviours.

3.5 Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Whether your focus is on a short term goal or long term planning, I can help you find the best solution and advise on both organic and paid SEO (Pay Per Click). If you would like to utilise the benefits of SEO on your website I offer packages outlined in 6.2: Service Charges.

3.6 Browser testing

Browser testing no longer means attempting to make a website look the same in browsers of different capabilities or on devices with different size screens. It does mean ensuring that a person’s experience of a design should be appropriate to the capabilities of a browser or device.

3.7 Desktop browser testing

I test my work in current and future versions of major desktop browsers including those made by Apple (Safari), Google (Chrome), Microsoft (Internet Explorer), Mozilla (Firefox) and Opera. I also test to ensure Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 for Windows users get an appropriate, possibly different, experience. I won’t test in other older browsers unless you specify otherwise. If you need an enhanced design for an older browser, I can provide a separate estimate for that.

3.8 Mobile browser testing

Testing on popular small-screen devices is essential in ensuring that a person’s experience of a design is appropriate to the capabilities of the device they are using. I test my work in:

iOS: Safari, Google Chrome and Opera Mini

Android 4.1+: Google Chrome, Firefox and Opera Mini

Android 3.2: Android Browser, Firefox and Opera Mini

I currently don’t test Blackberry OS, Blackberry QNX, Opera Mobile, Symbian or other mobile browsers. If you need me to test using these, I can provide a separate estimate for that.

3.9 Technical support

I am not a website hosting company so I don’t offer support for website hosting, email or other services relating to hosting. You may already have professional hosting and you might even manage that hosting in-house; if you do, great. If you don’t, I can set up an account for you at one of my preferred hosting providers. I can set up your site on a server, plus any statistics software such as Google Analytics and I can provide a separate estimate for that. If you require ongoing updates updates to, and management of that server including uploading of images, media or blog posts, we can work out a monthly arrangement with a separate estimate for that too.

3.10 Changes and revisions

Fixed-price contracts are rarely beneficial to you, as they often limit you to your earliest ideas. I don’t want to limit your ability to change your mind. The price at the beginning of this contract is based on the length of time I estimate I will need to accomplish everything you have told me you want to achieve, but I’m happy to be flexible. If you experience any spontaneous creativity and want to change your mind or add anything new, that won’t be a problem as I will provide a separate estimate. On the other hand, if it turns out that I take longer to complete the project, I will not charge you any extra.

4. Liability

I cannot guarantee that my work will be error-free and so I can’t be liable to you or any third-party for damages, including lost profits, lost savings or other incidental, consequential or special damages, even if you have advised us of them. Finally, if any provision of this contract shall be unlawful, void, or for any reason unenforceable, then that provision shall be deemed severable from this contract and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions.

5. Copyright

First, you guarantee that all elements of text, images or other artwork you provide are either owned by your good selves, or that you have permission to use them.

Then, when your final payment has cleared, copyright will be automatically assigned as follows:

You will own the visual elements that I create for this project. I will give you source files and finished files and you should keep them somewhere safe as we are not required to keep a copy. You will own all elements of text, images and data you provided, unless someone else owns them.

I will own the unique combination of these elements that constitutes a complete design and I will license that to you, exclusively and in perpetuity for this project only, unless we agree otherwise, in which case I can provide a separate estimate.

I love to showcase my work and share what I have learned with other people, so I reserve the right, with your permission, to display and link to your project as part of my portfolio and to write about it on websites, in magazine articles and in books.

6. Money Matters

6.1 Payment Schedule

I am sure that you understand how important it is as a small business that you pay the invoices that I send you promptly and that you courteously agree to stick to the following payment schedule.

You will receive 3 invoices based on the total estimate split into:

30% of total sum upfront for locking in creative time on the design schedule and prototyping;

50% of total sum upon completion of Phase 3: Invention and prior to Phase 4: Development;

20% of total sum upon approval of completed site, prior to Phase 6: Live Launch.

6.2 Service Charges

6.2.1 Ongoing Search Engine Optimization

  • Monthly: £SEO monthly per month as per subscribed package.
  • Hourly: £SEO hourly per hour for first hour and £SEO 1/2 hr per half hour thereafter.

6.2.2 Content Management (adding provided content such as images, videos and blog posts)

  • Monthly: £CMS monthly per month as per subscribed package.
  • Hourly: £CMS hourly per hour for first hour and £CMS 1/2 hr per half hour thereafter.
6.2.2.1 Extra services outside of subscription limitations
Any extra content management outside of your Content Management plan are to be billed at the hourly rate.

7. But where’s all the horrible small print?

This contract is not to be transferred to anyone else without my permission. This contract stays in place and need not be renewed. If for some reason one part of this contract becomes invalid or unenforceable, the remaining parts of it remains in place.

Although the language is simple, the intentions are serious and this contract is a legal document under exclusive jurisdiction of English and Welsh courts.

8. The dotted line

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Signed by and on behalf of [your name]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Signed by and on behalf of [customer name]

Date [date]

Everyone should sign above and keep a copy for their records.

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