When to tell long-term client I’m retiring within the next year

For fiteen years I’ve been designing a quarterly forty-page publication (print & online) and numerous other smaller projects for a small city. Now I’m planning to retire in the next six to twelve months. I haven’t yet told my client this. How far in advance should I do so? And when/how do I approach the subject of selling them the native InDesign files?

I charge a flat per-page fee for the publication. I’ve done one major design revision and several smaller ones over the years, for which I’ve charged additional fees based on my time. When I recently made minor revisions at their request, my liaison said the city didn’t want a major change because “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. This leads me to believe the city would like to continue using my design, but it could also mean they don’t have it in their budget to pay for a redesign.

However, they recently gave to another design firm an annual poster project that I had always done for years. So they may already have that firm in mind to eventually take over this publication. I have reason to believe that other firm may have extracted some artwork from one of my previous posters (logos that I vectorized from low-res images). This is another can of worms I’m not sure how to deal with, because I don’t have any proof of that, except for one of the logos that I designed myself.

Any advice on how to play my cards right and transition into retirement with some extra cash would be appreciated!


I would be inclined to give them 1 edition notice. i.e. If I’m retiring in August 2020, I’d tell them when the July 2020 Edition is complete. Possibly when the invoice for the July work is sent. I’d start with a simple informative email:

Hi, client

I wanted to let you know that I will be retiring this month and will not be available for future editions of XXXXXXXXXXXX. This includes the August 2020 edition.


From there I’d await a response, at which time I’d bring up the topic of native files if they did not.

… if you’d care to have the latest edition of my native working files I’m happy to provide those for a fee of $xxx.xx

If you feel one edition is not sufficient, then two editions. I’d really hesitate to provide any more notice than that. If you plan on completing their projects until February 2021, and you tell them now… you may not get their projects as of June 2020, leaving you without that six months of income you anticipated.

As for the logo/poster stuff… if all you did was convert raster to vector and they are a good, long standing, client — I’d let that go. It’s really not worth it.

I typically see logo conversion from raster to vector as unoriginal artwork and merely the process necessary for quality output. If they paid for your time, I think that’s often sufficient compensation. And If you did not actually design the logos, at best your vector versions are derivative works. If this “poster firm” used a logo you created, did you not price such a logo accordingly for the client?? Logos are typically sold with all rights seeing as they are logos.

Source : Link , Question Author : Gwen Speicher , Answer Author : Community

Leave a Comment