Handing over graphics files


John is a graphic designer. Smith hires John to do some graphic design work. Great! Transaction completes and Smith receives all the files. Simple and straight forward, right?

One day, Smith meets Jennifer who is also a graphic designer. Smith just wants to have the name and address changed on the file (most often, it is a .pdf file), so he sends the file over to Jennifer for quick editing. Jennifer opens the file in her graphics editing programming and finds out that all the “layers” are missing since it wasn’t the original native file (with embedded features such as text, and background images). So Jennifer asks Smith for the native editing file. They usually come in the extension form of .eps, .svg, .ai, .psd, etc. [more on file extension type].

Smith realizes that he doesn’t have it. Either that, or he has no clue what Jennifer is referring to. Jennifer says: “Sorry, I’m going to have to charge an arm and a leg to reproduce the file with no guarantee” or perhaps “Sorry, I won’t do it. You might want to speak with John about it.”

Here are some tips on how Smith could have made a smooth transition on handing over graphics files:
1) Ensured that all the files are stored in a folder: there should be .pdf, .jpeg, .svg, .eps, and other types of files.
2) Made a note of who made the files. In this case: John, the graphic designer.
3) Included all the billing information in the same folder
4) Zipped up the file and stored it on his computer OR emailed himself with all the information so he has it available when needed.

What if Smith does not have the original native file for editing?
In this case, the contract (between Smith and John) did not include a condition where Smith gets to keep the original native file (i.e. .ai – adobe illustrator file, .svg – vector, corel, etc). What happens then?

Since Smith has only the pdf (without embedded editing capabilities in the file) and/or a jpeg / png version of the file, simple editing cannot be done. Certainly, any image can be manipulated but if the image is densely populated with backgrounds and unique fonts, then the manipulation process can get rather complicated.

1) Smith, being the client, should have included terms within the contract where he gets to keep the original copy of the vector file (it may cost more but he retains higher control over it).
2) If these terms cannot or will not be included, then if Smith wants simple editing done, he should contact John to get the job for editing.

For further reading (from stackexchange.com):
“Is it usual for the designer to retain control over the native files used for creating graphics?”