Chapter 19. How contracts work

It’s not unusual to hear a designer say “I don’t use contracts.” In most instances, what this really means is that he (or she) is not well informed about legal issues and is hesitant to even bring them up in discussions with clients. He starts a complex project based on nothing more than a handshake and then just hopes for the best.

Well, it’s quite likely that he does in fact have a contract in place — he’s just not aware of it. This chapter explains the key ingredients that create a binding legal agreement between a designer and a client, and it describes how a court might later interpret that contract in a lawsuit.

The essential elements

We need to start by defining the word “contract.” It’s an exchange of promises ...

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