How to Write a Graphic Design Proposal

Ilise Benun on graphic design proposalIf you’re trying to learn how to write a graphic design proposal, this post will help. (You can also take my online course — offered multiples times throughout the year.)

Because I’m convinced that the key technique to writing a graphic design proposal that gets you the job (this goes for a web design proposal or RFP response too for that matter) — especially the big ones — is this:

Devote as many pages of your design proposal to the client – your understanding of their needs and your recommendations for them – as you do to yourself and your qualifications.

In developing the Designer’s Proposal Bundle I read a lot of graphic design proposals and I was amazed at how many of the proposals were all about the designers and not so much about the project at hand.

If you’re working on a graphic design proposal template…
25 per cent of the proposal document should be devoted to persuasively written and completely customized text about your client’s project in the following areas:

  • Project Goals. This is where you essentially regurgitate what you’ve heard the client say and/or what you’ve been able to dig up about them online, or know from your experience with them. This shows how much time you’ve invested and how well you’ve listened.
  • Project Recommendations. Since doing spec work is off limits, it helps to share your ideas and recommendations verbally, so the prospect knows you’ve given it some thought and have ideas at the ready.
  • The Process. A client who doesn’t know you has no idea what they’re buying. Go into detail about how you work as it relates to the project. Unless you describe the process, explaining how and why you do what you do, they can’t imagine it, can’t justify it, can’t value it and therefore can’t pay you what you want for it.

Read more on this in my latest “Down to Business” column for Applied Arts. Take this online course to learn how to write your own “winning graphic design proposal.”

And if you are looking for sample proposals (or 11 of them!) check out the Designer’s Proposal Bundle in How to Write a Graphic Design Proposal

7 thoughts on “How to Write a Graphic Design Proposal

  1. Tovo

    Agreed! Our first page of any proposal details the client, their needs, and our processes. The more information on the proposal, no matter how detailed, explains the value of your service. Because we have no tangible product, that’s critical.

  2. Mark K. Brown

    Good info but it says there are sample proposals and I am not finding them. Am I missing something. the link takes me to the book and info. Maybe I’m looking for something free that is not there. Hey, times are tight…

  3. Elsy Aumann

    I had purchased Ilise’s Designer’s Proposal Bundle (Proposal Bundle for Designers: 25 Resources for Project-Winning Proposals) and it was the best investment I could make last December as a Christmas gift to my business. Well spent money. It helped me land two great projects, both valued at $40,000 and it was in part thanks to my proposal and the way I learned how to price Creative Design projects in a more detailed way and how to present my company to my clients. I also had Ilise’s as a consultant as she helped me and guided me in the process. Thank you Ilise!!!

  4. Pingback: How To Write a Graphic Design Proposal: RFP Templates & Samples « Concepts in Print Concepts in Print