Portfolio Ownership ?

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  • lambsy

    The rundown:

    20 years ago, Best friend and i started design agency.

    He handled getting the clients, brand strategy, pitching & money.
    I handled all branding, design, coding, logistics, etc.

    fast forward 15 years, we decide to do a major rebrand, i created our new agency website with detailed case studies, client testimonials, etc... Took 6 months of work puling everything together and writing the studies. He came up with the new name of the agency, and that's it.

    After i completed the new agency branding & website, he criticizes everything and sort of checks out. we have a falling out over the next year and distance grows between us. I continue doing business with the agency website that i built using the name he came up with (he wasn't using it.)

    Fast forward 2 years, and we reconnected through an old client, and he's pissed that i am using the website and showing my design work and his "strategy". He's claiming that the work was contracted using his contacts, and they belong to the old company. (Which he now refers to as "his" company, & that i was simply a contract worker)

    We were a two person team, and i honestly put in 80% of the work on every project to his 20%. We had no contracts of any sort.
    He's making me feel as i'm stealing the portfolio work that i did, and saying that the only reason we got such large clients is because of his rolodex, and that i am wrong in showing them on my website because i could never get such large clients by myself.

    Am I in the wrong here?

  • _niko0

    Not wrong the guy sounds like a douche

    • He's very good at his job, but still a douche.lambsy
  • imbecile0

    Give him a hug and ask if he has any new clients.

  • sr_rosa0

    I have always had conflicting opinions on a company using works from a previous one without disclosing it — ie. a two years old agency with projects on its portfolio from five or more years ago — but I understand they just combine portfolios from their members.

    That said, even if you were only a worker there, and not having any contract preventing you from using those projects in your portfolio, I don't see any problem.

    As in my first example, I personally would prefer disclosure — ie. your role in each project — but that is just a question of honesty, and not really related to 'ownership'.

    • I agree. I would disclose my role in every project, but i'm finding it tacky to say "i did everything but the tagline and the press releases"lambsy
    • You can just add credit to your former partner on those areas, if you want, only to shut him up; but you can still use the projects anyway.sr_rosa
    • Giving him credit could potentially lead to some prospect clients questioning about that person and why he is no longer part of your team, tho.sr_rosa
  • grafician0

    There are no best friends in business. Only mutually beneficial interests...

    • That said, do another rebranding, use all the projects you did, give credits, let him use the old agency name, that's that.grafician
    • But you'll have to do all the work yourself, including his part.grafician
    • ^ Good ideas. But I feel it's admitting fault to me, which i have not done, so it's irking me.lambsy
    • Nah, just move on, not worth the time wastedgrafician
  • SoulFly0

    You put in 80% and the other side is claiming ownership... sounds too familiar of a story. You know what they say... it's an industry of lots of disappointment and lots of broken hearts...

  • raf0

    Who invoiced the clients at the old "company"? Both of you? How were you getting paid? By your partner?

    In general you are able to show the work you did unless there is a NDA. I suppose there's nothing stopping him showing that work too.

    • whos paying for the domain/hosting etc? if you then its yours dude fuck himtrooperbill
    • I own both of the URL's to old and new business. Still host his emails as well : )lambsy
  • lambsy0

    ^ He handled the invoicing, bank accounts, taxes, etc. Then we split the profits after business expenses were taken care of.

    There is no NDA, and i would fully support him showing our work elsewhere. I figured that's how it works.

    This industry is hard enough as it is, i wish him well. I just don't understand his irrational anger at the whole ordeal.

    • It’s been two years, how about a rebrand? new website, fresh name you can own, portfolio using the work you did alone in past 2 years.shapesalad
    • Then just update social channels and mail out to old clients. You can use ‘shape salad’ if you fancy. Or ‘bezier risotto’ is a good one.shapesalad