The first thing you need to know about writing a graphic design proposal is that it's not that different from any other type of proposal. You want to show your client that you understand what they are looking for, that you understand the problem they are trying to solve, and that you can give them what they need.
It can be hard to do that from scratch, however, especially if proposal writing is not a task you've ever taken on before. Here are a few tips to follow to help guide your newest adventure: graphic design proposals!
Even though this is a formal business proposal between you and a company or individual, everyone involved is still human (we assume). Introduce yourself. Tell them who you are and where you came from. Tell them what you're good at and what you like to do. Don't bore them with extraneous details, but make sure your about section is thorough enough to give them a solid impression of who you are.
Consider including a photo of yourself to go along with the content. And don't be afraid to link out to other content that you have created--your portfolio, your website, or the one project you are most proud of.
Make sure you understand what they want and then communicate to them your understanding of what it is they are looking for. If you're responding to an RFP, make sure you include any details they thought most pertinent. If you're working one-on-one, don't be afraid to ask for a short interview or phone call before you finalize your proposal. There's nothing more disappointing than spending hours putting together the perfect proposal, only to realize that you misunderstood their problem.
In this section, outline exactly what the problem is that you can solve. Maybe they need a series of visually engaging, branded marketing documents. Maybe they need a new facelift for their website. Maybe they need a book cover designed or a series of informational posters. Whatever it is, make sure you understand the goals of the project and the intended outcome. This way, you can cater your solution specifically to them.
Now that you completely understand their problem or project, what can you do about it? Be sure to include specific details about your skill set, your vision for how you would tackle the project, and how your strategy would be beneficial to the client. The solution that you come up with should be based entirely on what they are looking for.
Don't be too inflexible though! If a client loves 70% of your solution but isn't sure about the other 30%, be sure to communicate that you are willing and ready to work with them to find the best options for their project.
In this section, make sure you include action-oriented words, write it in a positive and excited tone, and communicate that this project is something you really want to work on.
Just like other types of intellectual property, graphic design includes the question of who owns what and when. Be sure to include a section in your proposal that indicates what your preferences are for ownership, copyright, and usage rights. Don't forget to include a deadline! Make sure they know when to get the proposal back to you; otherwise, even if they're interested, if the project isn't top priority, the proposal might just sit around on their desk for an eternity.
Finally, seal the deal! Conclude with definitive reasons why they should hire you. Tell them what to do next. Tell them how excited you are about working with them. Offer to follow-up by phone or in person. End by making them want to call you and get started right away.
This is a critical step. Don't just write it and hit send. Spend some time making it look nice--demonstrating your design skills. Ask someone else to copy edit it--you don't want it to be littered with dozens of errors and mistakes. Make the proposal perfect: show just how good you are at what you do.
If the client agrees to hire you--say thank you! You have an exciting new opportunity to work with new people on a new project.
If you don't get the project? Never fear! Pick yourself back up and try again. Some clients will love your work and others won't, and that's just the way it goes. Don't dwell on those that said no. Instead, move on and find the next client, the next project, and the next opportunity.
Still stuck? Check out Osmosis's graphic design template for ideas, or sign up for Osmosis (30 days FREE!) to try out the platform!