800.357.1299
Call Today

Does The Client Get Native/Mastered/Layered Files?

It’s a reckless world filled with legalese out there (that’s our disclaimer “talk to an attorney if you need cast-in-stone advice”), but this should give you a basic understanding of what you get when you purchase a design from us, and what you don’t get . . . and most importantly, how to ultimately get what you NEED. Below is a FAQ about native/mastered/layered files.

 Will you e-mail the native design files to me? The layered Photoshop file?

Usually, no.
Here’s why:
We use licensed fonts and royalty-free stock images when creating our designs. Because these assets are used in multiple designs for different clients, they are licensed to Faceless Technologies, not purchased on behalf of a client. To protect the original copyright holder (the artist, the photographer), these licensing agreements do not allow distribution to clients outside of a “print ready” file. In other words, I am not allowed to send files in any format where the native image can be extracted and re-used–which includes sending in “master” or “layered” files. The good news is that by using licensed files, you pay a fraction of the cost compared to what you would have to pay if you purchased these files exclusively for your own use (some fonts cost over $1,000 for the set).

Are there other potential problems I should be aware of before investing in a native file?

While not comprehensive, here are some issues you should be aware of before making the decision to purchase a
native file:
  • Incompatible software versions (You might not have the same version of Photoshop that your designer has, for instance, and the features we’ve used may not be backwards compatible) Files will be provided only in the software versions they were created in. It is the client’s responsibility to obtain any needed software/versions to open these files.
  • Graphic design files can be HUGE and, depending on your computer/equipment, you might have trouble opening/modifying these files. At the time of this writing, 16 GB of ram is pretty much the bare minimum I’d recommend. Less than that, you might be waiting awhile for things to load. Like, until next Christmas.
  • Different skill levels: Your design artist might be much more talented than we are (no problem there, other than perhaps a slight flash of jealousy) OR they might be an intern/admin assistant with little design experience and can trash a file if not careful.
  • For the reasons listed above, if asked to update/modify a file at a later date (say the intern decides to pursue underwater basket weaving, we will be working from my last version, not one another designer has worked with. (We are happy to take a look and see what we have to work with, but usually it’s less expensive if we start from where we left off)

 

But I really, really, REALLY want/need native design files. Is “no” your final answer?

Our goal is to help you, not be a roadblock. If you ultimately decide you NEED a native design file, please let us know at the outset of your project and we can build in the cost of purchasing these assets for your use. To give you a ballpark figure, industry standard for pricing is about 300% of your original project (yeah, ouch!! ,but there you have it). Your actual cost may be more or less, depending on what files/fonts we need to buy outright for your use. Likewise, if we know you’ll need native design files in advance, we can also help your budget by being a little more “cost aware” of assets you will need to purchase.

I didn’t know I needed the file . . . until now. (my web designer, cover artist, or mother-in-law just told me they need access):

If you want to obtain these files after your design is finalized, the cost will be slightly higher due to the retro-work that
needs to take place to get the licenses purchased and files prepped for distribution.

Why would someone even want the native design file?

Well we can think of a few reasons:
  • Perhaps someone wants to see “the inner workings” of our brilliant designs (just kidding here). Truthfully, in the graphic design industry, many artists don’t like to share this info. They consider the “how-I-did-this” to be proprietary. We figure it’s somewhat like writing. You can see what I’m doing, but that doesn’t mean you can do the same thing yourself or create something similar just by looking at our work, so we are okay with this. Fair warning: thrashing around in our files can be like a rough draft of a novel–little edits and notes everywhere. Messy, crazy, hard to follow. Shorthand only we can decipher. You’ve been warned.

 

  • Client would like to be able to perform simple edits without paying full price (or waiting) for an entirely new design, for example, adding “Bestselling Author” to your promo material or changing a book’s release date. We totally get this. You’ll have to balance out whether the cost of getting the original file is more expensive than a re-do. We will try and be fair on our pricing, in either case.
  • Using the basic design for something else. Maybe they love a bookmark and want to use the same concept for something else, say a Facebook or Twitter banner . . . but they need to shuffle things around a bit. Having the layered file will allow them this kind of flexibility.

Can I use the design you created in my Etsy / EBay / Amazon / or Whatever store?

Probably not–at least not “as is.” We incorporate royalty-free stock images into our designs. The licensing for these images includes–in a non-legal nutshell–use in marketing/promo/advertising materials. This means that while you could print something on a tote bag and give it away (marketing/advertising) — once you decide you want to SELL these products for a profit, the license use is outside of the original intent.
Most images have an extended license option we can purchase on your behalf for this additional use. . . but not all images have this option.
If you think you will be using your design on a product you intend on selling, please let me know at the outset. It hasn’t happened to us yet, but it would be horribly disappointing to create something that the client can’t use down the road, either due to licensing restrictions or prohibitive cost.
Also, if we know in advance, we can be budget-aware. These licenses usually range from $50-$150 per image used in your design
(Note the “per image” comment. We can easily use 5-10 images in a single design concept) Unless you have dancing room in your bank account, you probably don’t want us throwing in images with reckless abandon.

Can I trademark/copyright something you design for me?

Unfortunately, no. Images are created using royalty-free stock images and purchased fonts. If you need original, exclusive art, your best bet is to contract an artist /illustrator who will assign you these exclusive rights. While we are not endorsing/recommending any particular firm, we know other clients have had some success with www.fiverr.com, www.hireanillustrator.com or even local graphic design schools.

If certain rights are important to you, be sure and clarify rights in advance as not all artists will give these to you.

Do you reuse your designs (or part of your designs) for other clients?

Yes and no. Sometimes we’ll re-use a part of a design (or a layout concept) that a new client has fallen in love with. This is usually something nondescript (like swirls in a corner, for example, or the layout of a bitty booklet). Even so, we try to avoid having two clients with identical (or nearly identical) marketing assets. One of the benefits of having a large client base in industries is we can keep an eye out for duplicate designs in the same marketing space.
Related Post
graphic design
Psychology in Design

What we see and what we feel are two very different things. The first is an aesthetic experience; the latter is a psychological one. Good graphic design includes both.  Designers need more than a basic understanding of psychology for their work to make a worthwhile impression. Now, you may think that you need to get a […]

Read more