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How do you convince a client that work is 100 percent original?


Question

I have designed emoticons for a company, but they feel that the work is not original! They sent me an email saying "There are many emoticons on the market which all look nearly the same." How can I convince them that my work is original?

It is original work by me! I have also signed a contract with them.

Here is a detailed reply from my client

There are many emoticons on the market, which nearly look all the same. - Did you legally clarified that you are allowed to sell the emoticons to customers? - So you carefully secured yourself, that your emoticons differ from other emoticons? - Do you have an confirmation, that the use is allowed? We want to avoid any problems caused by using your emoticons, because they don't differ from other emoticons on the market. This is very important for us!

Do i have to have a design studio to be legally clarified to sell my work? I'm a freelance graphic designer and i work from home!

Here is preview of emoticons Attachment : http://bit.ly/1XW2nQQ

2016/04/27
1
20
4/27/2016 11:39:00 AM

Accepted Answer

While I generally side with you that original work implies that you performed the work from scratch, I must ask a few questions:


Did the client approach you about this or did you pitch it to the client?

If you are the one that pitched the idea then the client trusted you to truly wow them since they are likely paying a premium for these original emoticons. If they are left with the feeling that they were better off getting something off the web for cheaper and with less time consumed then I can understand their frustration.

What does the client do as a business? Could this be the next WhatsApp?

Maybe they were expecting a truly amazing icon set that they can put their brand behind. If they are just running some forum then they can certainly use some stock off the web and be done with it. If they were banking on an awe-inspiring emoticon set that would differentiate them in their business-space then I can certainly see why paying a premium for "more of the same" (in their eyes) is somewhat of a let-down. On the flip-side, if they didn't pay a premium then it is somewhat rude to expect a 100% stellar product.


I just want to make it clear that I am not critiquing you nor the hours that you've certainly put into your work but these could be valid points to consider during your next contact with the client.


Update

After seeing the full text of the email which your client sent and reading the comments throughout this post, I would like to offer the following reply:

Hello Mr/Mrs/Ms. Client,

I would like to assure you that the work I submitted to you is 100% original in terms of me performing the design process from start to finish. Yes, you are correct that there are many emoticons on the market and at first glance they all look similar. I made sure that the emoticons submitted to you were differentiated.

Any steps that we can take to avoid legal issues are steps which I would like to take with you. As of right now I can offer you all of my original sketches and mock-ups which led to the design of the final product. I would like to also offer a Certificate of Authenticity which guarantees that the work I performed for you is 100% original and will not be resold in any way. Per our contract, your company will own full rights to these emoticons.

Please let me know if your company would like to take any additional steps in securing the emoticon's authenticity.

Many of the statements made above take a lot of assumptions into consideration about your contract and what you are willing to do so definitely modify it to fit your situation.

It sounds like the client hired you so that they can avoid paying royalties for using someone else's emoticons. They also want to avoid the possibility of being sued. If they do get sued then they need to be thoroughly certain that they can stand their ground and did not rip off someone else's established work.

My primary goal was to be as objective as possible and focus on the fact that they are worried about legal issues and this has absolutely nothing to do with being displeased with the design. I like your emoticons by the way :-)

2016/04/27
13
4/27/2016 1:29:00 PM

It seems you and your client use different definitions of the word "original".

You seem to mean it in the sense that you created the emoticons from scratch without copying anyone else. Your client seem to mean it in the sense that they look too much like other emoticons already out there.

Compare this to much of pop-music. Most songs are original in the sense that they were written from scratch without copying, but at the same time most of those are also un-original in the sense that they sound much like similar pop-songs.

I would do the following:

  1. Assume that the client wants something that stands out more from the crowd and start discussing changes with the client. I'd probably try to incorporate the graphic profile of the company in the emoticons.

  2. Just to make sure, ask the client if they're worried about legality issues with the icons and, if so, add a clause to the contract stipulating that you take full responsibility for any copyright concerns regarding the icons.

And ask the client to be clear. What do they mean? Why do they need to be original? Do the emoticons follow what you've stipulated in the contract? Having an active communication with your client is the first step to a successful (and less tiring) job done.

2016/04/26