Architectural, fashion or industrial design contract

This is a contract between an architect or industrial product designer and his or her client for the production of a design. There is specific focus on intellectual property protection - confidentiality and transfer of the rights in the work to the client on completion. It is suitable for many types of design, from full architectural plans to building detail, interior designs, machine and product design.
Suitable for use in: England & Wales and Scotland
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About this document

This is a contract for the design of a product, whether architectural plans for pre-fabricated house, sketches and patterns for clothing, or blueprints for a mechanical product or a machine that makes a product.

Because a specification of work could be so varied, it does not include one. We assume that you will write an appendix to the document that details the client's requirements.

As well as the standard terms you would expect in such a contract, this document focuses heavily on intellectual property and confidentiality. It provides for the transfer of ownership in the intellectual property in the design to the client on completion, and provides confidentiality regarding the nature of the work and the client's business.

The contract is primarily designed for the client to use. It could easily be adapted by the designer for his or her use instead. It assumes that the designer is likely to be self-employed or working for a small company, perhaps at the client's premises or elsewhere, perhaps employing others or contracting out some of the work.

The document can be used as an umbrella agreement so that subsequent pieces of similar work do not have to be renegotiated.


The agreement includes the following provisions:

  • Definitions and interpretation
  • Contract work
  • New intellectual property
  • Payment
  • Client’s system security
  • Use of sub-contractors
  • Confidential information
  • Indemnities by designer
  • Other matters relating to enforcement and other legal issues

Additionally, there are over 1,600 words of drafting notes to help you edit the document to suit your requirements.


This document was written by a solicitor for Net Lawman. It complies with current English law.

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