I am a fairly new UI/UX designer.

Sometimes during interview process a client would ask me to complete a test mockup. Since I'm eager to prove myself and get more work, I spend a considerable amount of time and effort on this one task.

If the client does not hire me, am I allowed to put the resulting mockup in my portfolio?

What if there was an NDA signed, but the mockup does not reveal any sensitive information?

  • 1
    If an NDA was signed, you better read it closely before displaying anything.
    – Scott
    Feb 22, 2015 at 19:55
  • The conversation is sort of missing the point of the initial ask. I'm having the same issue myself where I'm accruing some work as a result of completing design tests for roles that I've applied for. I have not signed any NDA's and an beginning to think that some of my design responses are portfolio worthy despite not having received the job. It sounds like it would be up to my discretion whether I would want to present or include this type of work in my portfolio. If anyone has feedback in this regard it would be much appreciated. Cheers! Nov 24, 2016 at 22:00
  • You can ask the client (after reading the NDA closely). Nov 25, 2016 at 13:47
  • Not a real answer but spending a lot of time on test mockups is never a good idea. You have a portfolio, and if they like your work they can hire you. If they want to try out, they can pay for a test mockup. Never work for free in these cases! Dec 13, 2016 at 8:36

3 Answers 3


I think you can make it. The client never paid you for the work, so you still keep the rights on the work. To me this looks like you made your own versions of Coca Cola logo showing what you can do and put that work online. You do not threat Coca Cola in any way nor you mean to compete against them, you are simply showing your skills.

If I am mistaken, I will delete or update this reply.


Read also what @Damian Nikodem said. In the light of new events, I would then separate work you made for large companies from work you did for individuals. Then all work which could make you headache, I would not keep public. If you have a lot of such work, I advise you get a legal advise on this.

  • Since coca cola is covered in trademarks I would stay away from that one Feb 23, 2015 at 1:44
  • @DamianNikodem It was just an example. But even then, I highly doubt Coca Cola would ever sue a young graphic designer who wanted to show his view on Coca Cola logo. Since he has no profit from it, I am even not sure if this can be sued. Yet again, I am not a lawyer so my words should not be taken for granted
    – Peter MV
    Feb 23, 2015 at 10:12
  • you know what, the fact that you didnt earn any money from it dosn't mean anything at all. Infact coca cola would have you in court so quick you wouldnt even have time save the document you are editing. You have this thing called a trademark, trademarked logos and designs are similar to copyrighted ones, in many senses, except for the fact that a trademark cannot be considered protected UNLESS its owner takes steps to protect it. (e.g. Sue the living crap out of anyone who uses it or its likeness. ) (continued.) Feb 23, 2015 at 10:46
  • So if I was to create some 'mockups' using the mcdonalds logo (or based on the mcdonalds logo) , and put them in my folio then if mcdonald's was to find out about it they would have the option to get me to remove it from my folio, or leave the golden arches for anyone to use (even burger king). If BK was to attempt to use them then they could cite my folio as a example of mcdonalds not protecting their IP, mcdonalds would claim they didnt know, and them 'protect' their IP by dragging both me and burger king through court. (cont.) Feb 23, 2015 at 10:50
  • You may notice that whenever you see a movie or tv series various logo's or brands are 'hidden', its for this exact reason, unless express permission is granted by a given trademark holder then the producers can be liable. In many cases companies treat it as advertising and pay a token amount to have their product or logo featured,(such as a dollar, or free samples for cast/crew), this is because in some jurisdictions permission has to be explicit, and the simplest way to do this is to call it marketing. In the world of trademark law there is no such thing as 'fair use'... Feb 23, 2015 at 11:00

When you are working as freelancer, you are exposed to whole world. In such situation always be careful about copyright. Do not use others copyright material without permission.
If you want to use your work, change your work in such way that it doesn't look like the original. Hope you got the point.


You are allowed to put your work in your portfolio, even if the client DID pay you.

  • 1
    Not exactly , you can mention it but you may not be able to include its imagery. it depends on what terms you transferred the copyright to the client. If you retained some rights then that's ok, but if the client has full perpetual exclusive rights to something you could be breaching their copyright by posting it ( for example if a session musician writes a song for Feb 23, 2015 at 1:49
  • This is not correct as a default rule of thumb.. Often it may not be a problem but depending on the contract, NDA or even specific local laws you may or may not do this. Dec 13, 2016 at 8:39

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