Web design contracts are agreements that legally bind a client and a web designer. The legal document covers intellectual property rights, pricing, project timeline, the design of work, payment schedule, and other legal terms.

What Should a Web Design Contract Contain?

A web design contract should contain a number of vital elements. These might vary from one to another, but there are basic elements of a web design contract. For new web designers, the best way is to take suggestions from contract templates available online. However, it's better to create one that really fits your purpose.

Basic elements of a web design contract include the clear project scope to be delivered. In addition, the contract should state clearly if the text content of the website is part of the work or not. It could also contain legal stuff suggested by your legal counsel such as the individual who'll be performing the browser testing, making the necessary changes; extra charges, revisions, clauses, and payment terms. Lastly, make sure there are signatures and dates when the contract came into effect.

Sample Web Design Contracts

To guide you in making your web design contract, here are few samples for to consider.

  • The Killer Contract by Andy Clarke. This web design contract is a bit simple with reasonable terms that loosely bind the involved parties. The contract doesn't really utilize overwhelming legal terms making it a straightforward and friendly document that having a binding agreement.
  • The Project Acceptance Form. If you want to state the work to be delivered more explicitly, then this one fits you. The design of the contract presents tables with web design works, development and web design, the number of pages, content population and its corresponding copywriting, online marketing after the launching, project timelines, support and maintenance agreements, and a section dedicated for extra charges for extra work along the way.
  • The AIGA Standard Form. This web design agreement is a fairly old one but serves as a guide in creating a contract away from the one-size-fits-all concept. You can draft the contract that properly suits you with terms and condition as applicable.
  • Contract for Development Services. This is a statement that essentially defines the agreed payment terms in rate per hour or project fee. Transfer of rights to the client like intellectual property rights, copyrights, and the generic coding solution, is also part of this contract template.
  • Project Contracts Bundle. This bundle formulated by Andy Rutledge has an "Authorization to Proceed" apart from the "Terms and Conditions" template. This type is complete in terms of scope making it a perfect format or a starting basis for a web design contract. 
  • Web Design and Development Services. This is a full-fledged contract for web design that sorts out every aspect of the design and development process. If you're looking for a bullet-proof web development contract, this is one of the best options to use.
  • Believe it or not, there's a web design contract that suits developers who are not into making contracts. This is similar to Andy Clarke's web design contract which is a simple document that still binds both parties. 

What Is a Contract and Why Have One?

Apart from being just a document, a contract is a relationship between an individual and a business, or both. It defines the existing relationship between an individual and his client which covers the scope of work, budgets, conditions and requirements, and timelines. It might mean a relationship between you and your client, but always remember that even the best contract won't cover every scenario. Maintaining a good personal relationship with mutual respect are still the heart of a healthy business relationship.

A web design contract is also a legal relationship and an agreement that legally enforces responsibilities and commitments between parties. The exchange is called consideration and might include money, rights, or anything with value. Contracts may come in many forms from 20-page tomes to scribbles on a napkin, or just a simple oral contracts.

All contracts can be changed. Any provision may be added or altered based on negotiations when both parties have something valuable to offer where both involved entities can get a benefit from. For a contract to be enforced, it should be signed by both parties involved and a person with the authority to do so.

If you need help with web design contracts, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.