What is a Graphic Design Proposal?
A graphic design proposal is a document drafted to persuade a prospective client to opt for a designer’s value propositions. The proposal document outlines the problem at hand, design solutions, and includes pricing and timeline.
Simply put, a crisp and professional graphic design proposal helps a freelance designer or a design agency to get the client’s signature on the dotted line and land a graphic design contract template.
Prepping a proposal can be overwhelming, but it’s a whole lot easier when you know what to include.
What to Include in the Graphic Design Proposal
Including the right sections makes your proposal stand out and portrays the value for money of your services. Here are a couple of important pointers on what to include in your design proposal:
This is the first page of your proposal. It’s also your first chance to explain how your skills and experience perfectly align for a design job. A cover page should create curiosity and compel a client to dive deeper into the rest of the proposal.
An executive summary, as the name suggests, sums up what’s in a proposal. Think of this summary as a more condensed yet clean and concise version of the proposal. A good executive summary tells clients about important points that they’ll find in the proposal document.
This is where you provide the client with brief background information about yourself or your company. Graphic designers should use this section to inform clients about:
- Services: that you offer
- Strengths: that make you the perfect fit for the job
- Track record: of working with other notable clients
- Target market: that you serve or plan to extend to
If you work with a team of graphic designers, this is the place to showcase their skills. If you’re a one-person graphic design firm, that’s great too. The length of this section depends on the number of team members. Here’s an idea of what to include:
- Name and photo: so that the client knows who’s who
- Team roles: to let clients know about who they’ll be working with at which stage
- Biography: add some information about the team members i.e. education, experience, and interests
A graphic design portfolio is a must-have for showcasing your previous work to potential clients. It shows your ability to walk the walk and talk the talk. Here’s what you can include:
- Previous works: completed for clients in similar industries
- Diverse projects: to show your ability to handle varied deliverables
- Awards: that speak volumes about your design capabilities
- Testimonials: from past clients for building trust and credibility
A methodical design process is key for efficiency and transparency. Creating this process beforehand helps both you and your client to be on the same page about what to expect next.
This process also shows your ability to break down a project into manageable elements. Here’s an idea of what to include:
- Client discovery: for learning the design requirements of a client
- Industry discovery: for understanding what competitors are doing
- Application discovery: to frame the solution
- Sketching: to explore and explain potential design concepts
- Design drafts: for creating and visualizing mock-ups
- Refinement: for refining a design to fruition
- Further developments: for adding finishing touches to the design
- Delivery: to hand over the final design product to the client
It’s a good idea to add a project timeline and milestone completion dates for each of these stages. That’ll help a client to gauge the time it’ll take to complete a project.
Fees and finances
This section outlines the proposed fees for completing the project. Based on a client’s needs, you can either add a category-wise pricing chart or service-based fees. Don’t forget to mention the number of iterations you’ll provide for each category or service.
Pricing and terms
This is the last section of your designer proposal. It generally includes key pointers like:
- Billing schedule: for mentioning the fee schedule and preferred mode of payment.
- Terms: for making changes to the proposal
- Acceptance: so that both parties can begin to take the steps to enter into a contractual agreement
If you and your client agree to work on an ongoing basis in the proposal, you can try our graphic designer retainer contract template.
How to Write a Graphic Design Proposal
Winning graphic design proposals have persuasive writing at their core. What you include in it determines whether you’ll hit a home run or not. Since you already know what goes into a graphic design proposal, let’s take a look at how to put these pointers together:
Find out exactly what the client wants
Clients want to be sure of a number of things before contracting your services. They want to ensure that you:
- Have some knowledge about their industry
- Understand their design problems
- Possess specialized skills to solve the challenges
Understanding what they really want is key to landing graphic design projects. That’s why it’s super important to talk to a client as much as possible and research.
If a client is hiring you for graphic design tasks—such as brand collaterals or logo design—it’s best to start by understanding:
- Persona: so that you can learn more about the company’s target audience
- Design references: for learning the design styles and templates that the client prefers
- Purpose: of creating these brand collaterals
- Business goals: that are connected to this design initiative
- Marketing channels: that the collaterals will be promoted on
- Brand perception: for understanding how customers should perceive these collaterals
- Values and mission: that brand collaterals should reflect
- Competitors: so that you know how they are creating similar designs
- Likes and dislikes: of the client so that you can include or avoid them
Highlight what sets you apart
You’ve done the difficult bit. Now it’s time to show intangible skills that make you stand out. This part is important because your client is looking at other graphic designers' work too. Portray your can-do attitude, enthusiasm, commitment, and skills so that a client knows—you’re the one!
Include a CTA
Now that you have put so much work into creating the proposal, you should let the customers know what to do next. This is where a call to action comes in. It can be as simple as a list of next steps to follow or even a calendar link for booking some time to chat.
Creating a Graphic Design Proposal Template is Simple with Bonsai
If you’re ready to pitch to prospective clients but find it increasingly difficult to create a design proposal, Bonsai is here to help. You can easily customize the design project proposal template available on Bonsai and even manage the entire contract lifecycle. Here’s how to get started:
- Sign up for free to Bonsai
- Find your desired design proposal template
- Edit and customize your proposal
You can also use Bonsai to send the proposal to the client for acceptance, and get it signed without ever leaving the platform.
Graphic Design Proposal FAQs
What information goes into a graphic design proposal?
Here are the key aspects that make a proposal persuasive and convincing:
1. Cover page
2. Executive summary
3. Company overview
4. Team members
5. Design portfolio
6. Design process
7. Fees and finances
8. Pricing and terms
A graphic design project proposal is a graphic designer’s chance to woo the customer, so make sure yours stands out.
How long should a design proposal be?
Any word count is fine as long as the proposal piques the client’s interest and persuades them to have a conversation with you. That’s why it’s necessary to give them sufficient detail while keeping it engaging.