Starting a graphic design businesses in Australia are subject to various legal requirements that are important to ensure compliance with the law and to protect the interests of the business owner and their clients. From registering a business to intellectual property protection, there are several key legal considerations that graphic design entrepreneurs must be aware of in Australia. In this article, we will explore the legal requirements of a graphic design business in Australia, including important topics such as business registration, contracts, intellectual property, and taxation.

Business Registration

One of the first legal requirements for starting a graphic design business in Australia is to register the business with the relevant authorities. In Australia, there are several business structures to choose from, including sole trader, partnership, company, and trust. Each structure has its own legal implications, and it’s important to choose the right one for your graphic design business. For example, if you are operating as a sole trader, you will need to register your business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) if you are using a name other than your own. If you are operating as a company, you will need to register your company with ASIC and obtain an Australian Company Number (ACN).


Contracts play a crucial role in protecting the interests of graphic design businesses in Australia. It’s important to have written contracts in place with clients, suppliers, and contractors to outline the terms and conditions of the working relationship. Contracts should clearly state the scope of work, payment terms, intellectual property rights, and dispute resolution mechanisms. It’s recommended to seek legal advice when drafting and reviewing contracts to ensure they comply with Australian law and protect the interests of your business.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) is a valuable asset for graphic design businesses, and protecting it is a critical legal requirement. In Australia, IP protection can include copyright, trademarks, and designs. Copyright automatically protects original graphic designs as soon as they are created, but it’s advisable to use the copyright symbol (©) along with your business name and the year of creation to indicate your ownership. Trademarks can be registered with IP Australia to protect your business name, logo, and other distinctive marks. Registering a trademark provides exclusive rights to use the mark in connection with your goods and services in Australia. Designs, such as unique graphical layouts or user interfaces, can also be registered with IP Australia for protection. It’s important to understand the different types of IP and how they apply to your graphic design business to prevent infringement and protect your creations.


Complying with taxation laws is a crucial legal requirement for graphic design businesses in Australia. Businesses are required to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and a Goods and Services Tax (GST) if their annual turnover exceeds a certain threshold. GST is a broad-based tax of 10% on most goods and services sold or consumed in Australia, and businesses are required to collect and remit GST on their sales. Graphic design businesses are also subject to income tax on their profits, which is calculated based on the business structure and the annual turnover. It’s important to keep accurate records of all financial transactions and seek professional accounting advice to ensure compliance with taxation laws.

Employment Law

If your graphic design business has employees, it’s important to be familiar with employment law requirements in Australia. This includes understanding minimum wage rates, working hours, leave entitlements, and workplace health and safety regulations. The Fair Work Act 2009 is the primary legislation governing employment law in Australia, and it sets out the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees. Graphic design businesses must comply with these legal requirements to ensure fair treatment of their employees and avoid potential legal disputes.

Advertising and Marketing

Graphic design businesses often engage in advertising and marketing activities to promote their services. It’s important to be aware of the legal requirements surrounding advertising and marketing in Australia. This includes adhering to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) guidelines on advertising, which prohibit false or misleading advertising, as well as spam laws, which regulate electronic marketing communications. Graphic design businesses must ensure that their advertising and marketing practices comply with these laws to avoid potential legal issues and maintain their reputation in the industry.


Starting and operating a graphic design business in Australia comes with various legal requirements that must be carefully considered to ensure compliance with the law and protect the interests of the business and its clients. From business registration to intellectual property protection, taxation, employment law, consumer law, privacy law, advertising and marketing, and dispute resolution, there are several legal considerations that graphic design entrepreneurs must be aware of. Seeking professional legal advice and staying updated with relevant laws and regulations is crucial to ensure that your graphic design business operates legally and ethically in Australia. By understanding and adhering to these legal requirements, graphic design businesses can mitigate potential risks, protect their interests, and build a successful and sustainable business in Australia’s competitive marketplace.

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