Getting your graphic design credit line on your work is a great way to spread word-of-mouth on your business. It is satisfying, and lucrative, when someone sees your work and contacts you for a project. In many cases your clients would pass on your contact info for you in case of an inquiry, but it is a great idea to skip that step and guarantee people can get in touch with you. Also, it is of course nice to get credit when it is deserved and see your name on a final work of design.
How to Get Your Graphic Design Credit Line
Most likely, the client will not suggest that you add an element to their project by including your credit line. However, many also will also not say “no” if you tell them you would like to include it…so that’s the first step. Don’t ask the client if it is ok with them. Instead, mention that you include a credit line on the type of project you are working on (if that is actually the case), and leave it up to them to dispute. Then it is up to you how important your credit line is. If the client does not want it, and has a good reason, this shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Do you trust the client will recommend you if someone asks who designed the piece? If so, you are probably ok. Once you have an agreement on the credit line, what it will say, and where it will appear, include it in your contract.
When Not to Include a Credit Line
There are some situations where a graphic design credit line is not appropriate. The most common is on a small piece such as a business card, where adding a credit line would significantly distract from the design. It also might not work on a very minimal design, where your credit would be one of the only elements on the page. It should blend in to the design rather than stand out. A credit line is appropriate in a larger scale project such as a book design or CD package, where there is often a page dedicated to credits and “thank-yous.” Use your judgment to decide if you should include it or not.
What Language to Use for your Credit Line
The credit line should accurately state your role in the project. You don’t want to imply that you have created an element that you have not, such as a photograph or illustration. It can be most effective to not just include your name, i.e. “Design by Name,” but instead include your website address. If your site address is also your company name or full name, people can get in touch with you directly if you include “Design by yoursite.com.” Using your website enables people to immediately view your portfolio and contact you. If you do not or cannot include your site address, be sure you have worked to improve your Google (and other search engine) results. This way, if someone googles your name they can still find you.
Where to put your Graphic Design Credit Line
The credit line should not stand out on the page. In fact, it should almost disappear into the design while still being visible. In this case, your job is to design something for the client, not to promote yourself. If the client has been willing to include your line, use a small font size (such as 6 or 8pt) and place the line somewhere on the edge of the page or integrated into another design element. For web design, it is common to have your credit on the bottom of the design, preferably on every page.
I Got My Credit Line, Now What?
If you’ve placed your website address on a design, it will work for itself. If your name or company name is the credit, be sure to politely remind the client that you are always looking for more work (if you are) and would appreciate any referrals.