Native Files (working/source files), do you need them?

The term native, working or source files refers to the file format that an application uses to create or save files. Often just called digital artwork (the native/working/source files) belongs to the designer. The native/working/source files contain expertise, the ‘know how’ of putting together all the pieces that make up a design.

A client has the right to use the final product, usually a Portable Document Format (PDF), which is a digital file. But it’s important to understand that PDFs are not native/working/source files.
Unless specified, when you, the client, request to design and create something, you are getting the finished artwork files normally a digital PDF or flat image (jpeg/png). You get value—certain results—from that. Providing the native/working/source files in addition to the finished work would be an additional, separate value—but only if you need them (otherwise, they are of no use to you). You can also think of the situation as buying a meal at a restaurant: you eat the meal but you don’t leave with the recipe. Make sense?

Do you need the native files?

You may have a valid reason for getting the native files, while some clients think they need them when they actually don’t (such as to send them to get printed). So when should you ask for them?

It should be:

  • If you need to make ongoing text edits (such as only a date change to an ad that you will run throughout the year) and you have an in-house designer who has the software and training to use the files.
  • If you are have a in-house designer to create other materials, for example, you pay for the design of a conference program and banners, and your in-house designer is going to create a postcard from that design.

You probably shouldn’t be asking about native files if:

  • You don’t have the proper latest software. (Software would be an additional expense.)
  • You don’t have any training on using the software. (Training would cost you time and money.)
  • You do not want to or cannot afford to buy the fonts.,(Licenses for fonts are not transferable, and the cost of fonts could potentially be thousands of dollars.)

If you do decide to ask for the native files, keep in mind:

  • You cannot legally obtain the fonts from any design firm. If you do, both you and the design firm are in violation of the font manufacturer’s end-user license agreement (EULA).
  • We do not provide training or support with the files. If something gets messed up in the file, you will have to pay to have it corrected.
  • You may not be legally allowed to use any custom or stock photography elsewhere or after a certain period of time.


What files do you get with our production?

All our design productions are provided as a finished product, our logo production however is provided as both final and native files (excluding third party licenses) in the final package to clients.

  • Finished Artwork Files : PDF, Flat image, Vector art, HTML/CSS/PHP/MYSQL – that's the design fee.
  • Native(original) files (Layered Photoshop/Illustrator/layout files), yes we sell them based on its production. They are never free.
  • Preliminary sketches, notes, rough drafts, which were not used in the final design – never for sale.
  • Cost of any third party licenses (fonts, images etc) are added to any fees for native/original files and any related license text is included with deliverables.


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PO Box 69, Kallista VIC 3791


03 9788 5334