Designing Contracts for the XXI Century

by Veronica Picciafuoco

8 Reader Comments

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  1. The design of the cards is really important when it comes to the business contract card as our first impression depends on the design of our business card.
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  2. Couldn’t the absence of legalese make clients suspicious? I once left out the www on my business cards and had many clients and acquaintances startled (“is this your web address? don’t I have to add something?”), so I put it in again to avoid questions. I call that irritable client syndrome :- )
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  3. Alan Siegel gave a great little ( < 5min ) TED talk on this topic in 2010:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/alan_siegel_let_s_simplify_legal_jargon.html
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  4. I work with copyrights and intellectual property agreements every day, and I’m always interested in the origins of such a convoluted topic—thanks for the fascinating overview of how some of these terms got stuck in our modern contracts!
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  5. Nice article.  As a young lawyer who deals with creative people a lot, I am very excited to read articles like this.  In my own drafting I incorporate a lot of the points noted in this article, but as @Mykola1 pointed out, some people are trained to expect certain language in their contracts, and so when it is changed, they are skeptical.  Walking the line is important, and change happens over time.  Articles like this help make that change more of a reality, and faster!  This site is a great resource, and as I was directed here by one of my clients, I too direct other clients here as well.  Thank you for the work you do.  The wall between lawyer and creative is coming down, one brick at a time…
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  6. Great article, and I loved the reference to the Latins. I’ve used the Killer Contract from Stuffs and Nonsense for a couple of years with moderate success. I was actually going to rewrite it in some parts and I booked already a meeting with my lawyer to discuss about. Starting up few new typologies of service in the new year, I’m looking forward to work on the new contracts and paperwork and see what we’ll end up with. Thanks for giving me even more motivation on the task. I’ll surely consider giving back to the community if we’ll produce anything useful for others.
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  7. About the questions on the Killer Contract and its real-life application, Andy Clarke personally told me that in five years, no client ever questioned the legality of the contract or made objections. In most cases, the whole signing process was actually speeded up by using a shorter/simpler contract. I believe no plain-English contract will create problems with small / mid-sized clients. Worst case scenario, you lose the “battle of the forms” and end up having to review the client’s template. It is true that Andy’s model has a lot of personality, and that personality simply might not work for you. There’s no shame in using a more classic example, just make it work for your particular project. Coming up with your own template is not easy work (and I think I made it clear in the article), but the benefits in the long term can be huge. It’s almost like an investment in a technological tool that’s hard to master at the beginning, but can boost your productivity for years ahead.

    Anyway, if you’re a fan of Andy’s “legal” work, check out his “three wise monkeys” NDA: http://www.stuffandnonsense.co.uk/blog/about/see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-speak-no-evil.-the-three-wise-monkeys-nda
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  8. I just took a class on Principles of the Design Process, and it took me through the beginning stages of meeting with the client and creating a proposal. I decided to immediately implement such stage into my process and created a design proposal template. Included my contract or terms of condition. I will probably go through this article more in-depth at a later time, but this will definitely help me go through my proposal terms and conditions and fine comb all the language. Thanks for the post!
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