10 Things To Include In a Design Proposal To Get Client Approval (2023)

Design proposals are the first thing you need to establish a professional relationship with your clients. Management people ask for a design proposal because they have some options when it comes to design work. They want to get an idea about the designer and his or her abilities to perform their task from the design proposal in order to select the best one for their project.

A design proposal is a well-described document for your client that you submit after your first conversation regarding a potential graphic or web design project. It is not a pitching document, so it should not be all about you as a designer and should not try to sell your services. It is a professional document that is honestly stating what you can do for your client and why they should pick your proposal against every other designer.

A design proposal’s raw format should contain some essential elements about the designer, business profile, project scope, a timeline of the project, terms & conditions, and pricing structure. In this article, we will discuss ten things that you can include in your design proposal for easy approval. So, let’s get to the details:

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1. Decide The Look Of Your Proposal:

Your design proposal’s overall look determines many things, and it is crucial, just like the content of your proposal. If you are using any template, then make sure it is appropriate for the project, business profile, and client. The right template is quite essential not just for the approval but also for justifying your skills. Clients can also judge your ability from your proposal’s look without getting started with the remaining segments. A design proposal needs to be appealing, formal, sincere and engaging with all the well-written details. You can take free templates from various online portals, or you can make your own as well in any designing software. The expert made templates and your designed templates are not that distinctive as long as it makes your proposal aesthetically appealing.

2. Add Why Me Section:

Instead of adding about me or about us section, you can replace it with the ‘why me?’ section for creating a unique introduction. Why me section is the answer to why your client should pick you and not the other designers for their project. You should introduce yourself in this just like you do in about me but with an extraordinary context. Explain your experience, some of your significant achievements, how you work, and what makes you different than every designer they are considering. Make sure the tone is just right, not arrogant, and not friendly try to make it gentle and positive for your client. It is better to keep this somewhere on starting pages as an introductory bridge between the client and your proposal. With this unique way, you can give a short answer to their ultimate question and draw their attention to the next sections.

3. Showcase Your Deep Understanding of their Business:

When you are talking about their business industry, company, and current situation, you are indirectly showcasing your awareness and knowledge about the industry. It is highly important that you come out as a creative designer and an intelligent designer so that they don’t have to serve every piece of information and perspective to you for the design. It is like an extra character for your proposal to make you win in the end. You can do your research and collect all the necessary details about market trends, industry, and business history that you may need for serving your client. When you are adding a business situation section, don’t just put typical data that is available online but try to include some of your personal perspectives and studies as well. This method gives a personal touch to the proposal and can surely impress your client with your keen focus.

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4. Add Characteristics of the Design:

The next thing you can add to make an easy to approve proposal is your design’s characteristic. How worthy the final output is at the end of this project; is something your client wants to know as soon as he can. So before delivering the final output, it would be more beneficial to paint the picture of that in your client’s mind. You don’t necessarily have to give all the details about your design; you can simply talk about what exactly you can deliver to their business. Include the achievable looks, uses, and goals of your design. This pre-defined layout can help them understand your mindset and the possible results they can expect from you. There is no need to overcommit in your design proposal, so make sure you don’t add anything you can’t deliver. What value your design can add to their business and how your design can help them better than any other designer’s design is something you should consider including to stand out effectively.

5. Professional but Easy to Follow Process:

Every proposal includes the work process segment because it is a valuable part of the format. When you describe the work process that you follow and the process on which you take the project is an essential element for your client. Design proposals quickly get out from the race if they are not easy to understand for the company. The language and tone of your content should be formal but not difficult for your client to understand. Especially with the work process element, it is an official step that would include you and your client on the working page. When the project is live, you and your client need to interact and coordinate multiple times to successfully generate the results. You are taking them on your work process before the live working situation, but through this document. So, please keep it simple and easy to follow to avoid misconceptions and rejections. If they find your technical words and complicated language hard to follow, then they might not take a second chance to understand it enough and take your proposal out from the race.

6. Comfortable Project Timeline:

As per the design and client’s requirements, you need to decide the timeline. Business enterprises are always seeking disciplined and punctual designers for their various needs. Suppose it is a long-term project with multiple deliverables or a short-term project with a single deliverable. In that case, you have to meet the deadlines with quality results as a designer. Your design proposal must include each detail about your deliverables with the promised date. Please think twice before proposing a timeline or accepting their requested timeline so that nobody has to deal with delays and disappointment. A project timeline is based upon your discussion with the client, and it would be about your commitment to that design or proposed timeline according to your convenience. Generally, the timeline should be comfortable for both parties, and it should talk about what design you can submit on which date. You can try descriptive or table format with icons and images to make it creative.

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7. Your Skills and Experience Section:

Some say it is not a required component for the design proposal. That is an accurate perception as well because your appreciation should not exceed a specific limit in your proposal. But if you want to highlight your skills and expertise, there is a unique way of doing that. When you are already adding the why me section, you are partially showcasing your abilities and creativity. So when you want to make your design proposal more compelling by adding a different section of your skills and experience, you don’t have to take it the same way. You can use graphs, icons, numbers, or percentages to show your level of expertise in various designing skills and software. It can be just like a small slide of this content, but from this, your client can get to see your skills and expertise in a creative way, which helps you lift your proposal for approval.

8. Include Transparent Terms & Conditions:

To complete your perfect design proposal, you need to add every terms and condition regarding the designs, timeline, and payment. A professional proposal must be clean and transparent about every aspect. If you are talking about the client’s requirements and policies, you also need to clearly add your terms and working conditions. This section is not a place to hide anything and not to give out half pieces of information. If you are not transparent about your terms and conditions, you can face severe issues later on. It happens many times that designers and businesses get into heavy professional disputes over a project. To save yourself from trouble, you have to mention all the terms and conditions from the first step. There is no need to emphasize but always keep in mind that honesty and transparency are the crucial keys for a healthy professional relationship.

9. Add a Smart Pricing Structure:

Ending segment should be about your pricing and payment conditions. You can add this component in various ways but try to make it easy and feasible. It is a bit tricky part because you want your proposal to get approved and at the same time you want an appropriate remuneration as well. As per the industrial standards and your experience, you already know the best possible rate to offer a client. You can put it directly or through various smart ways like in a package form or a partial form with per design rate or with a different time rate. There are many other ways possible to create an illusion of a cheaper rate. And different designers use different methods to make this part more exciting and convincing. You can take any smart ways to describe your pricing, payment methods that you follow, and payment conditions to create another pillar for your easy to approve design proposal.

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10. Necessary Links:

Last but not least is your contact page. When you add your contact details, make sure you are coming off as an easy-to-reach out with your contact number, email address, and other links. Nowadays, there are many ways to divert clients directly to your portfolio site. It is good to mention your social media links and website link if there is any. Add some light and funny lines as well to end it casually. This unique contact page can break off the formal language and help you to make some friendly gestures. This one is another element to give attention to for making a design proposal that is easy to approve.

The creative field has its own challenges when it comes to competition. There is always a better designer for the project, and you want to shine in the best way to get the project. Submitting a design proposal is a common step that every designer follows, and they all have their ways to create and present a design proposal. Everything that is available for your client to see and judge about you is creating your complete impression on them. So when it comes to a design proposal, you need to take care of every element with complete focus. It should be different in your way and an ice-breaking proposal for your client. You can set the bars high for other designers as well, and for that, we have tried to incorporate some of the useful things in our list to make your design proposal unique and superior.

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What 4 questions should a design brief have? ›

Design Brief Questions about the design project's scale, timeframe and budget
  • Do you have a budget for this project?
  • How many different concepts would you like to see?
  • What material will you be providing me for this project?

What are the 10 key components of a project proposal? ›

  • Key Elements of a Complete Proposal. ...
  • Cover. ...
  • Table of Contents. ...
  • Abstract (also called Project Summary) ...
  • Project Description (also called Narrative or Research Plan) ...
  • Budget Explanation (also called Budget Justification) ...
  • Vita (also called Resume or Biographical Sketch) ...
  • Other Support (also called Current and Pending Support)

What are the 10 parts of a research proposal? ›

  • Introduction. It is also sometimes termed as 'need for study' or 'abstract'. ...
  • Review of literature. It refers to all sources of scientific evidence pertaining to the topic in interest. ...
  • Aims and objectives. ...
  • Research design and method. ...
  • Ethical considerations. ...
  • Budget. ...
  • Appendices. ...
  • Citations.

How do you pitch yourself to a client? ›

How to Make a Sales Pitch
  1. Make it short.
  2. Make it clear.
  3. Explain who your customers are.
  4. Explain the problem they're facing.
  5. Explain how your product addresses their needs.
  6. Describe what success will look like as a result of using your product.
Sep 21, 2022

What is a design proposal template? ›

A design proposal is a document or a series of slides that set out your plan for a design project. Normally requested by clients, it's a way for them to compare the value that different designers are offering them.

What are the 3 questions you would ask to the client customer? ›

Here are the top 5 questions you'd ask your customers
  • What can my company do to better serve your needs?
  • How satisfied are you with our products/services?
  • What value do we provide?
  • What are your biggest challenges?
  • Why did you choose us over the competition?

What are the 3 basic questions you'd ask a graphic designer candidate? ›

10 common graphic design interview questions
  • What made you decide to be a designer?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Walk us through your design process.
  • Do you prefer to work independently or as part of a team?
  • What do you think the next big design trend will be?
  • What do you do to improve your design skills?

What are the 7 main specifications of a design brief? ›

Here are the essential elements of a good design brief:
  • Objectives and goals of the new design.
  • Budget and schedule.
  • Target audience.
  • Scope of the project.
  • Available materials/required materials.
  • Overall style/look.
  • Any definite “Do nots”
Mar 17, 2011

What are the 5 design considerations? ›

Top 5 List of Design Considerations for an Owner
  • #5 – Operations and Event Schedule. ...
  • #4 – Redundancy and Reliability Requirements. ...
  • #3 – Sustainability Goals. ...
  • #2 – Project Delivery Method. ...
  • #1 – Construction Budget and Cost Model.
Sep 13, 2021

What are the 5 parts of a design brief? ›

The anatomy of a design brief
  • Company profile. ...
  • Project overview. ...
  • Goals and objectives. ...
  • Target audience. ...
  • Design requirements. ...
  • Budget and schedule.
Jul 13, 2020

What are the 9 parts of a project proposal? ›

Basic components of a proposal
  • Abstract/Summary. The abstract is the most important component of the proposal. ...
  • Statement of Need. What is the issue that you are addressing and why does it matter? ...
  • Project Activity, Methodology and Outcomes. ...
  • Evaluation. ...
  • Dissemination. ...
  • Budget and Continuation Funding.

What are the 7 elements of a project plan? ›

Let's dive into the details:
  • Step 1: Define your goals and objectives. ...
  • Step 2: Set success metrics. ...
  • Step 3: Clarify stakeholders and roles. ...
  • Step 4: Set your budget. ...
  • Step 5: Align on milestones, deliverables, and project dependencies. ...
  • Step 6: Outline your timeline and schedule. ...
  • Step 7: Share your communication plan.
Nov 19, 2022

What are the 10 steps of the research process? ›

A list of ten steps
  • STEP 1: Formulate your question.
  • STEP 2: Get background information.
  • STEP 3: Refine your search topic.
  • STEP 4: Consider your resource options.
  • STEP 5: Select the appropriate tool.
  • STEP 6: Use the tool.
  • STEP 7: Locate your materials.
  • STEP 8: Analyze your materials.

What are the 8 parts of the sample research proposal? ›

Some main components to a research proposal include title, abstract, table of contents, introduction, literature review, method, discussion, and budget.

What are the four 4 main components of a proposal? ›

Basic components of a proposal
  • Abstract/Summary. The abstract is the most important component of the proposal. ...
  • Statement of Need. What is the issue that you are addressing and why does it matter? ...
  • Project Activity, Methodology and Outcomes. ...
  • Evaluation. ...
  • Dissemination. ...
  • Budget and Continuation Funding.

What are the seven 7 elements of design? ›

So these were the seven basic elements of design – form, shape, line, color, texture, typography, and space. These various elements can make your piece successful when used right.

What are the 5 basic elements of design? ›

The elements of design are the fundamental aspects of any visual design which include shape, color, space, form, line, value, and texture.

What five 5 elements are normally included in the body of a formal proposal? ›

The body of a formal proposal can contain any or all of the following elements: facts and evidence to support your conclusions, the proposed solution (what you have to offer), the work plan, a statement of qualifications, and a breakdown of costs.


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