A For Adventure

Tales Of Adventure / A For Adventure's Blog

"Tales of Adventure" A for Adventure's official blog.

How We Explain Charging For Native Design Files To Clients

Like most design firms, A For Adventure does not provide editable native design files to our clients unless they specifically ask for and pay for them, and every few months we have to explain this policy to a new or prospective client. Over the years we've tinkered with a few different ways to try to explain this policy.

First, let's get specific on what an editable native design file is. Here's our basic definition:

An editable native file is a file that allows for easy versioning, copy changes, sizing, and imagery changes or updates without quality loss or the need for an extensive from-scratch redesign.

At design firms, this file will typically be an Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop file.

Giving a client the editable design file for a business card, allowing them to add new employee information quickly and easily, would not be huge financial loss for an agency, but an editable native file of a multi-page corporate annual report which could simply be revised year after year rather than rehiring the agency represents a valuable asset to the tune of many thousands of dollars.

In the past I have used the "car analogy" to explain why we charge for editable native files, as follows:

We are selling you the car, not the instructions for manufacturing it.

This has worked with marginal success, but usually still left clients a little confused and probably a little irritated.

Our latest analogy is much simpler, smarter, and to the point:

We are selling you the cookie. If you want the recipe, that’s extra.