View Full Version : A question on ethics, what can you include in a portfolio?

Morning all,

I have an ethical question. I shall give you a brief back story.

I have been freelancing for 4 years, but due to my youngest child now starting school F/T, I'm looking to be salaried again, which means I need to rebuild a portfolio.

Here's my question, my client base is made up of 50% my clients, and 50% work a local branding agency send me. Can I use some of the work I have created for the clients through the branding agency?

I can confirm that it is all my work, however they did the legwork with regards to talking to the client about the brand, their USP etc?

What are your thoughts?


You'll probably get some different answers here.

My thoughts are that if you did the work for the agency as a freelancer then you were not an employee so you were working B2B.
As I get it legally and ethically you should be fine as long as you didn't sign any NDA's.

The simple thing would be to ask them if you don't want to upset them in any way.
If you're using the portfolio for interviews then I guess they'd be non the wiser anyway.

tricky one

fine to take to an interview for sure, they'd never know, if your bunging in on a portfolio website, set it up as a "nofollow" and just send it as a direct link, again they'd never find out http://softkeeper.com/image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7

You'll probably find that the agency owns the work, especially if you completed it in-house. You may have created it, but you were contracted to them. They'll have terms set up somewhere that likely states that you cannot reproduce this work. I have this problem all the time, create some great stuff that you can't show anyone because the end client doesn't want it public.

I'd ask permission from the agency to display the work in an online portfolio, alongside a disclaimer like "Created whilst working at X Company." They might say yes. If you're showing a portfolio just for interviews you can probably get away with showing the work privately so long as you're honest about what you did and you're not breaking an NDA.

Ethically it is not a problem at all, as it is all your work. Legally, it would all depend on the terms and conditions of the contract you signed with them. The easiest thing to do would be to simply check with them/ ask their permission. Unless NDA's are involved, I don't see why they wouldn't give you the go ahead.

Why can't I ever find an agency that sends me work??? They always want me to work on site... Why can't they just have me in for briefings/ meetings and let me get on with it in Timbuktu if I wish...?