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Native files

Posted 8/4/2021

Native files are ‘working’ design files, saved in design programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign etc, which still include layers, editable text, and working design elements. This is in contrast with the artwork files I described in a previous post, which are usually files with outlined text, and/or flattened images etc to ensure the file opens and prints as expected, regardless of use of fonts etc.


Native files are not usually something that a customer will want, most customers who commission a design project do not have the skills or programs needed to do the work themselves. The artwork files supplied are usually perfect for a customer’s requirements, providing the ability to print without a problem, and also editable, to an extent, if they moved to use a different designer in the future. However, there may be occasions when a customer will ask for native files.


If a customer has asked for a template to be designed and has the programs needed and the skills to edit the template, this would be an occasion when a native, working design file would need to be supplied. This would be something agreed from the beginning of the project, and would be quite a specific request. 

The social media templates I usually design are jpegs, so that these can be edited in free image editing software or apps, rather than a specific design program. This makes these templates much easier to use and more accessible to more customers. 


Future changes 

If a customer has outsourced the creative design, but has the programs needed and the skills to edit a document to make future changes, they might ask for the native file. This would usually be discussed before the project is started, however sometimes this decision could come later down the line, in which case it’s best to ask your designer if they’d be happy to provide the files, and is likely to incur an additional cost. 


Repurposing a design 

Again, this would depend on having access to the programs needed and also the design skill of the customer. Sometimes a company will have an in-house designer who could take on a repurposing task, but maybe doesn’t have the time or the skill for the original creative project. Perhaps they have outsourced a brochure design and want to repurpose this as a different item, such as using elements for their website or for a flyer. Again this would be something to be discussed with the designer from the beginning of the project discussion, if possible. 



If native files are required, there is an additional cost to this, after all, native files are the designer’s individual approach to the work, using the tools of their trade and the skills they’ve learnt over the years of studying and working in the design industry. If you’re a customer and know from the start that this is something you require, it’s something your designer can include in their quote.

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