How to make a Design Proposal

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How to make a Design ProposalAs designers we often tend to overlook the nitty gritty of running a business. The stuff that can sometimes (for the lack of better words) save our ass!! 

So what in the world is a Design proposal now!?
If you are the kind of designer that sends out an estimate same day after meeting a client – How is that working for you?

A design proposal is that thing between an estimate and a design contract that ensures you get the project. Sounds interesting? A document to persuade the client to choose you over other designers because you can see the problem, the competition and YOU are the one with the solution. Infact we completely stopped giving out estimates now and always send out a Design proposal no matter how small the project is. Read on to know why!?..

When you Score your Dream Client you want to make sure that you approach them professionally, so that they select YOU for their project. Some times proposals are used to compete with other designers and while other times they are used to showcase your capabilities as a designer. Either way, having a good Design Proposal can be a deal breaker. You want to show your prospect that you know what you’re talking about and to do so we follow some basic pointers…

So how do we make a Design Proposal?


What’s the Client’s problem?

You might think there’s no problem, ‘the client just wants a new website!’ Remember how you were taught to look at the glass half full – Not in business you don’t!  Even though the client won’t directly address it, there IS a problem and that’s why you’re sitting on the opposite side of the table! 

The problem might be that he needs more business and hence he needs a website to expand. Or his competitor has a website, which is effecting his business. Or he wants to sell his product or services globally. Find that ‘problem” when you meet the client and that is the start of your proposal. 

Show what you can do:

Assess the problem and make the client understand what their strengths and weaknesses are. What is their competitor doing, what is the market trend and what is the client missing. This is a good time to build trust and make the client feel that you are with them and you can help them achieve their goals.

Company details:

Now that you have built that connection, time to introduce yourself. A good time to show what you are all about. Show the client your years of experience and why you are right for this project.

A brief introduction to the company, contact details and perhaps a small selection of your design portfolio that matches the project you are addressing. Nothing speaks better than visuals and even though you might have your work up on the website – it’s just more convenient for the client and also adds recall value if you add it to the proposal. It creates the full experience. 


Most of the clients don’t understand what design is and what goes into designing something. This is where you as a designer need to educate them and clarify visually. Having a timeline laid out before starting the project can be a life saver! This way the client understand what the process is and what the time required is before you start. So there are no more pushy phone calls and RUSH RUSH emails.

Show me the money:

Now that you have most things cleared out and all persuasion in action, you can talk money. We usually like to divide this in two sections. The first being what the client asked for and second being what WE think the client could use, based on the analysis of their problem. 90% of the time the client goes for the whole package. If not they come around and take it up on the next stage. 

This is why the persuasion and proposal is so much better than slapping a huge expense in their face without building their trust and getting to know them! Everyone likes being taken care of and that’s exactly what a proposal can make a prospect feel if done right. 

Lay your ground

Finally lay down your Terms and Condition, Bank details, Method of Payment etc to close the document. This documents becomes a compilation of everything related to the project and is a great reference point for the client and you to look back on while working on the project. It keeps everyone on the same page and really reduces unpleasant arguments. Plus it will ensure you can Pay your Bills!!..

Forming a Design Proposal is a lot of work and takes up a lot of time and so it’s a good idea to do that once and then use it as a template for all your Prospects. It is a great tool to save you time and earn you your dream client. And Guess what we’ve already done that for you!! 

Click here to download a FREE TEMPLATE for a DESIGN PROPOSAL when you SIGN UP and SUBSCRIBE to our Monthly Newsletters which features, Design tips, Resources and lots of Freebies every month! 

Hope this article was useful to you and if there’s something we missed that you would like to suggest or add to the list, please leave a comment below.

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