How to Write a Great Design Proposal

man proposing to woman

One of the hardest parts of running a creative agency of any kind is securing clients.
With so much competition and clients always looking to get the best deal it’s important to be able to stand out.
One of the best ways you can do that is learning how to write a killer proposal.
A proposal is written once you’ve had an initial meeting with a potential client and is your chance to show off your knowledge and how you can use it to help them.
We’ll take you through the structure we use to write a design proposal for our clients. Of course, you could take this structure and apply it to any creative industry.

Copyright Statement

Always start off the document with a copyright statement.
A copyright statement clearly explains the document or any information can’t be shown to a third party.
It’s also useful to do so in case you don’t secure this client and down the line, the exact same project shows up somewhere and you need to prove ownership.

Client Details

Pretty obvious but be sure to have the company’s name, address and all contact details so they know its intended for them but so you also know which company you are writing the proposal for.


The summary should include the following:

Details of the Project

In this section, highlight the areas the client wants you to work on in more detail.
So for example, on a website redesign, we look at the current website and list the pros/cons so the client can see what needs to be improved. This is also for our own benefit for it clearly lays out the specifics of the project.
Do this for every aspect of the project and be honest when listing pros/cons.
The client should be aware of how much or how little work needs to be done on their project.

Creative Strategy

This section is where you will lay out in detail the steps that you will take to achieve the end result the client wants.
You should pick out keywords or phrases relevant to the project and then give more detail into how you can do that for the client.
What new software or programs will you implement to help them? What will you do to help achieve the goals?
For example, if the client wants their website to be more organised and detailed how you will do that? Or if your prospect wants a responsive design detail how you will do that? It goes on for whatever your potential project is.
Be sure to include all details, no matter how minor they may be.
The client should be aware of every change that’s going to be made.


As a lot of creative work is very visual in this section we just like to go over what changes we will be making to colour, layout, font, font size etc.
And also explain how it will benefit the project and the client’s ultimate needs.

New Additions

Apart from reworking and changing things some projects will require new extras or things to be added to it.
In this section highlight whatever that may be.
Whether it’s a contact us page on a website or the addition of new details on a poster.
Be sure to cover every new addition so that the client is aware of them and isn’t blindsided further down the line.
Always meet with the client face to face and get their thoughts on the project before you write the proposal


In this section, you can give suggestions on what you think will be beneficial to the project but may not have been discussed or brought up in the initial meeting.
This the chance to show off your extensive knowledge of your industry and expertise to the client.
While at the same time, making your client aware of things they would possibly need to further their business.

Development Schedule

Pretty self-explanatory but its good to lay it out so the client is aware of when to expect things and you know when you have deadlines to hit.
Do avoid giving specific dates and times. Giving specifics leaves your team with no room for flexibility in case deadlines aren’t met, for whatever reason.
It’s much easier to give them estimated times and it also allows you time to create without too much pressure.

Fee Schedule

Again self-explanatory, a fee schedule is an outline of the fees for the project. Be sure to discuss all of the fees with the client before any work is started.
A general rule of thumb within the creative industries is the payment of a certain percentage of the fee before work is started.
Additionally, the rest is paid in instalments or according to how both of the two parties involved decide upon.
Talking about money can be awkward but it’s important to be assertive and make sure you get paid on time.
More details are usually provided about payment in the project contract, which is provided after the acceptance of a proposal.
Well, that’s it! It is a long process but one that you should definitely get to grips with.
Before you know it, you’ll be writing design proposals in your sleep. Good luck!

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