It is great! You have done the client research, you have communicated to a potential client, probably have met them and gathered important information about them and their company. They know who you are. Cool! This is the ideal start to the building of trust and authority that you are the perfect match to solve their problem. Now it is time to put together a proposal – an irresistible graphic design proposal to communicate the services you offer, the process to help them solve their problem.

figure of a target game to show proposal

Talk To Your Client

We need to keep in mind that a proposal is not a pitch. It is a document saying what you propose to do for your client. That means that before sending a proposal, you have already had a conversation with your client, either on the phone or in person.  And your client has shown interest. In this prior conversation, you have gathered the information for the scope of the work and made sure they align with the specific services of the content strategy for the client’s business.

You have talked to this potential client and you know what their problem is. Be a good listener to your client because you are collecting significant information to determine the best way to put a proposal before them. Your proposal will be constructed over the answers to the questions you ask them. So you want as much as possible to enable yourself to address the client’s pain points appropriately. Use The Web For ResearchResearch your potential client even more. The SEO tool SpyFu my favourite to investigate the client and their competition’s prospect, including keywords they have paid for or those they have ranked for and their variations. There are other tools available, such as SEMrush, Mangools, Serpstat, and others, with paid or free versions. Check the one you prefer that covers your needs.

If this potential customer already has a website, use Alexa to investigate their current ranks, if you have not done so yet. This information is essential to understand the work you will do.

Questions To Answer:

How do people find your client?

What do they offer on the site to those visitors?

How can we help them achieve their goals?

With all this information at hand, you can use the web to find the best proposal template and proposal creation software to make the process easier and more efficient. Or you can write it yourself following the sequence we give in this article. Most web options offer paid plans. But even their free trial periods or free parts are useful to give you a good idea. Examples are Better Proposals, Proposable and others.

But as mentioned before, even without these helps from the Web, this post offers you an efficient method to write your own professional-looking proposals to send to your clients.

Essential Rules To Follow:

  • Think like the client.
  • Never play defence. You are there to help them.

Collaboration is the game.

Try your best to limit your proposal to 4-5 pages. Recall that the clients do not care about you. They care about their business. The proposal should be in a clean, professional look, with easy to digest text.

Steps To Write A Proposal

Executive Statement

It is a stand-alone document which efficiently provides information given in the proposal’s body so that the reader can briefly summarise the main key findings of the document and the proposed courses of actions. This way, the scope and the goal of your proposal will be crystal clear.

Start With The Problem

Define the clients’ needs is the first step. If you have done your homework, you will have knowledge of their business and a great substance of their problem and they probably already have explained their problem to you. It is important that your client recognises that they have a problem to solve. In the description of the services, use the data you have collected with your initial research, the conversations with the potential client and further learning you have got.

To open the proposal, recap specifically what their problem is, using relevant data. Convey that you understand their problem. The client needs to recognize that you actually know the problem and you are ready to solve it.

Describe The Solution

Content is the keyword here. You need to transmit that you will work with them to devise the content strategy that clearly communicates the brand, responds to different screen sizes (different computer types, tablet, mobile), communicate trust and authority to the client’s client and show photos, icons, images as tools of intuition and persuasion.

The content-driven design will allow us to focus on the problems and work the other elements around it. Design a site to the client’s needs, to make the website look and function remarkably. We should include some items in this part:

  • the specific outline of the method to be used to achieve the final goal;
  • stats and data that will support that method;
  • explanation of why this strategy is the best for the company and the problem;
  • opportunities to review and update the strategy at specific intervals.

The intention of this part is to impact on the client. If you are not a great writer, the Web offers several tools to help you. Look at The Elements of a Proposal to find out a great approach to writing an irresistible graphic design proposal.

chess game to show elements of a proposal

A good solution demonstrates the plan and the chance of being successful in reaching the goal with stats and data. Put yourself into the shoes of the client’s potential clients to write this solution-strategy section to implement effective connection with your clients. Your goal will be to set clear indicators and delivery times for the project.

Payment Terms

There are many factors to consider, going from the complexity and length of the project, numbers of hours you expect to use, the urgency of the project to your experience and your portfolio.  The usual is to charge a 50% deposit at the signing of the contract and the other 50% at the end.

Also when you are pricing your work remember that you are solving a specific need. Make sure you have talked enough to the client to decide what they need before you price it. And any other additions to that price that the client may need will receive an additional price or hourly rates.

Terms And Conditions

Include things like revisions, feedbacks, working hours, when and how the project will start and when it finishes, copyrights, fees and payments, alteration to the original project, amendments, third party responsibilities, etc. Normally, Terms and Conditions for a Graphic Design are given to the client before the design work starts. Here, in the proposal, you just need to mark the essential things.   

Project Timeline

It is also important to offer an introduction to the project milestone, with distinct phases. Break down your design services in chronological stages to describe activities and estimated conclusion dates for each stage. The Gantt Chart Graphic is ideal for this graphic as it shows the development of the project period by period, with a summary of the remaining activities for the rest of the project period.

Why Choose Us?

dog with glass photo for proposal

Show significant achievements, like websites, brand designs, web development, etc that have involved you. Explain the skills developed by you or by your team and how your skills will provide benefits to the client. Try to provide the client with further evidence of your qualifications to solve that specific problem showing that you understand all the stages necessary to arrive at an adequate solution.

What Comes Next?

We need to consider that each case is a case. There are certain particulars that will apply in each case you have. There is a huge variation in the scope and complexity of graphic design projects. Adapt to them. All proposals share some key structure, but more complex projects require more elements to assist the client to visualise the project you are proposing and reassure them it is the right choice.

You might decide that you should introduce your team or an introduction to your portfolio. I suggest you should not write too much. The company is not there to read a novel about your company. The goal is to convey the value of your solutions to the client.

The last element to include will be an invitation to get in contact with you to organise a meeting either personally or through Skype to discuss the project, and desired changes, and gather information.

Include motivational persuaders such as the excitement of working with the potential customer in the project, or your enthusiasm in helping them solve a problem and that they have made the right decision in choosing you for their design services. Persuaders can go a long way in your presentation.

Cover Letter

Now that you have created your irresistible graphic design proposal, write a great cover letter where you highlight your skills and experience and your interest in working with that client. Show the client that your skills are the best to fulfil the client’s needs. Centre your letter in a particular problem and briefly explain your proposed solution to that problem and benefits they will have from following your method. Reinforce that you would like to collaborate with them in the development of their high-quality brand. Actually, the cover letter is a persuasive sales document, to get the client’s attention and induce them to engage with your proposal.

Encourage the client to contact you and give them your phone and/or email, mentioning your current availability and hours, if necessary. The proposal should be presented professionally to the client. Headers, subsections, graphics, photos, etc as appropriate (as you as a graphic designer will know how to do).

If printing the cover letter, use a professional printing job. Drop it at their office, if possible. If emailing it, email a short one first stating the goal of the project and adding that you will follow up in 3 days if you do not hear back from them.

Summary Of A Graphic Design Proposal:

  1. The Problem Statement
  2. The Proposed Solution
  3. The Benefits
  4. Pricing Information
  5. Call to action

The Value Of A Design Proposal

Writing a design proposal can take time and lots of work. You will get better with practice. It is a worthy exercise because your proposal will carry your value proposition with trust and authority. It will convince the potential client that your services are valuable and you understand how they can benefit from using your services.

Hope that will help you. If you have questions, please use the comments below.

Sources:
https://creativemarket.com/blog/how-to-write-design-proposal
https://simplpost.com/blog/content-driven-design/
https://www.bidsketch.com/proposals/graphic-design-proposal-template/
https://university.webflow.com/lesson/freelancer-110-getting-clients-introduction-to-getting-clients
https://www.teamgantt.com/free-gantt-chart-excel-template
https://www.engr.psu.edu/ae/thesis/assignments/ProposalBoothby.pdf

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Cidinha Moss