Graphic Design software and editable source files

We're often asked if we can supply our artwork in editable format. The answer is yes …  and no!

Yes, you can have the editable files

We don't add in the supply of source files as standard practice, as they are not the final product.

If we were to compare design agencies to restaurants - the final output eg. the final PDF of your document is the "meal" that you ordered.

Asking for the source files is like asking the chef for his recipe for the meal he made you. By giving that away for free, it means you you won't attend his restaurant for further meals, and you could even get another chef to make them for you. It's a loss of business for the restaurant which means they may not be able to stay in business.

The same applies to architects with their CAD files, developers with their code, or a recruiter handing over all their CV's. You are buying the final product and not the ingredients, IP and skills it took to to make it.

We will supply the source files if they are requested, however there is a fee for them.

If source files are required, please ask before we estimate the job as this will affect your final costing.

If you do require source files, we supply them in the software we developed them in. We work in standard graphic design software. The most common being the Adobe Suite:

  • Illustrator
  • Photoshop
  • InDesign

These files cannot easily be professionally converted to Word, Excel or PowerPoint without losing quality or encountering glitches.

NO: You can't have the editable files

These applications are specific to our industry. We can share the files with you, but in general, we advise against it for the following reasons:

  • The graphic design software is an added cost in the long run. Especially as we use several applications (e.g. InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop) to compile one document. Paying for these monthly license fee can be expensive.
  • You require a computer which has sufficient graphics capabilities to handle it. Our computers are specced up to allow for working with intensive software and large files. But they ain't cheap!
  • You need to learn the software. You can attend a training course, or do an online tutorial, but you need to dedicate enough time to it, and then work on the software regularly to remember what you have learned.
  • Once you have the skills, you need to have a graphic design understanding to make the changes that work. As graphic designers, we've spent many years studying our trade. When we present a design, we've applied that knowledge, combined with trying out various options to come to the best solution. And if there are challenges, we can use our experience to try to find the best solution. Finally, a graphic design studio has a team of people who can bounce ideas off each other, this means we have many minds working on one challenge! You may wish to read more about Why you should invest in a professional graphic designer.
  • Its time-consuming. One of the reasons we are often called in to work on PowerPoint or Word documents are that the time taken to make it look good is very time-consuming. It's what we do, so we do it faster (we're doing it all day after all!), and we're used to finding creative solutions. So if you are working on an unfamiliar software, and trying to solve an unfamiliar, and creative problem, this is often more stressful and takes up your precious time.
  • Its frustrating!! And when we say frustrating, we mean slam your fists down, pull you hair out, want to day drink and probably shout at your colleagues levels of  frustrating! Why? Because you aren't playing to your strengths.
  • We are the license holders. We use custom fonts, images and icons and have had to purchase them. As the purchasers, we then become the license holders and are not allowed to distribute them. You can, however, purchase them yourself and send them to us to use. We find generally that this option is not chosen as its time-consuming and requires extra credit card payments to the project. As the files cannot be used in isolation, holding the license rights to them doesn't necessarily benefit you in the long run.

"But, this means I have to pay a designer to make my changes?"

Sorry for you, yes. It is going to incur extra costs if you need revisions and updates done. But balance the cost of paying a designer the few hours it will take to make the changes against you doing it your self and the list above, combined with the sheer frustration of it, and you'll likely see that it's by far the better option.

And unless you learn the technical stuff, you could lose money through errors on print etc. If you want to save costs, read our article on "7 ways to save costs with your design agency (how to avoid scope creep)"

If you have any questions about your files and if you want to edit them, be sure to contact us and we can chat through your requirements!