How to write a graphic design proposal

You're well aware of the importance of graphic design proposals in your business. However, getting clients to sign off, or worse, to avoid getting stuck in endless projects with no end in sight is a challenge.


In this blog post, I'll share some tips for creating graphic design proposals that your clients will love – and that will help you avoid common problems like disappearing clients and surprise feedback rounds.


↘️ Avoid sticky situations by expediting the acceptance of your graphic design proposal and having a contract in place. Download Verô's Complete Contract swipe and customize it with the details of your business.


  1. How to be proactive about proposal planning
  2. Ways to show that you understand the client's needs
  3. How to make a great first impression with your client
  4. Tips for creating an engaging and visually appealing proposal
  5. Verô's proposal example
  6. How to close the deal and get the contract signed
  7. What to do after the proposal is accepted




How to be proactive about proposal planning for your next graphic design projects


One of the best ways to make sure that your graphic designer proposal is accepted is to be proactive about your planning. This means taking the time to build a base structure template to speed up the time you spend building it, understand your client's needs and expectations, and put together a proposal that meets those needs.


Here are a few tips for how to be proactive about proposal planning:



1. Have a solid offering in place.

Being proactive with your graphic design proposal starts with having a great offer as a base. That means you can't be mindlessly slapping something together last minute and expect it to be well-received. If you want to make a good impression, you need to put some time and effort into your offerings first. Make sure your offer is tailored to your dream client's needs, highlights your unique selling points, and is compelling enough to win them over. With a solid offer in hand, you'll be well on your way to proposal success.


P.S. Need some inspiration for coming up with a solid offer? Just look at the graphic design projects you've completed in the past. Are there any repeating services you offer over and over? That's where you can focus as a starting point.


2. Understand your client's needs and expectations and check if they match with what you want to offer

Seems simple enough, right? But you'd be surprised how many people don't do this basic step. They assume that what they offer is what every client is looking for, without bothering to find out if that's actually true.


The result is a graphic design proposal that is unaligned and tone-deaf. So take the time to understand your dream client's specific needs and expectations and then be honest with each lead that comes your way – are they a good fit or not?



Show that you understand the client's needs through your graphic design proposal

One of the most important things you can do is to make sure that you understand the needs of your prospective client. After all, if you don't understand what they're looking for, it will be difficult to create an effective graphic design proposal. Here are a few tips to help you show that you understand the client's needs:


Listen carefully during the initial consultation.

Regardless if it's over a written email or a Zoom call, observe the words and what potential clients are looking for. This is your chance to learn about the client's vision for the project. Make sure to take notes so that you can refer back to them later.


Ask questions.

If there's anything you're unsure about, ask for clarification. This will show that you're interested in understanding their needs and show them that you'll create a graphic design proposal that's customized to what they're looking for.


Do your research.

When you're taking on a new client, it's important to really understand who they are and their bigger vision. This means taking the time to learn about their business, their customers, and their goals. Only then will you be able to craft a graphic design proposal that truly meets their needs. So don't skip the research phase - it's essential if you want to craft the perfect project proposal, have a seamless project communication and create designs that your clients will love.



How to make a great first impression with your new client

Anyone who has ever sold a product or service knows that first impressions are important. The same is true when it comes to design work. When meeting a potential client for the first time, it is important to make a good impression. There are a few things you can do to make sure you start on the right foot:


Be on time for the call.

This one is pretty obvious. Showing up on time and prepared shows that you are organized and respect your client's time.


Listen more.

Let your client tell you what they need rather than trying to sell your offer. This is not the time for pushy sales-y tactics (who likes that!?). Lend your ears to listen to what your client is looking for and if they inquire about your design services, then explain how you work with your clients and why.


Do your research before engaging.

Finally, be prepared. Make sure you have done your homework and know what the client is looking for. You can ask qualifying questions on your website intake form that helps you know the prospective client a little better and understand what they're looking for before drafting a graphic design project proposal. If you need more information, you can invite the prospective client to a call or ask more questions via email to make sure you're a good fit for each other. 



Graphic design proposals: Tips for creating an engaging and visually appealing one

A solid graphic design proposal can make the difference between getting your dream project and being ghosted. Below are a few tips to help you create an engaging and visually appealing proposal that will wow your next client and can help make the process a little easier. And I'm sharing my design project proposal template down below on video.


Less is more in graphic design

First, remember that less is almost always more when it comes to design. Simplicity will help your proposal stand out from the rest and it's easier to be read through. Sometimes graphic designers go above and beyond with visual elements... keep it simple this time.

The most important thing you're trying to communicate is who you are, how you work, what the deliverables are (the scope), the project timeline and the pricing. You can also have additional a-la-carte graphic design services (like add-ons) that help complete the project proposal but that are optional for the client to have.


Use your branding to express your authentic brand

Second, don't be afraid to use color and imagery to add visual interest, this adds a bit more personality to your graphic design proposal. Just make sure it's relevant to the project at hand. Like I said above, less is more, but showing your unique brand can probably inspire prospective clients to give you a "thumbs up".


Communicate with ease

Finally, make sure the layout is easy to follow and that all of the information is easy to find. A winning graphic design proposal is all about how straightforward you are when communicating the project scope, timeline and price. 



Graphic design proposal template

I thought I'd add a graphic design proposal template here to inspire you next time you create your own. Here's how my proposal looks like and some helpful links for you to make your proposal more magic:


Here's my video example!

For my graphic design proposal and branding proposal, I use a CRM and proposal software – Dubsado. I love this tool because it allows you to organize your client's projects, automate emails and the overall workflow so all you have to do is show up to do the fun work!

Dubsado's graphic design proposal templates are a bit plain and dry but there are shops you can browse to buy a template for your graphic design proposal and make it look like a winning proposal. I use Search & Grow's templates and highly recommend them!


A golden tip for you

Create your own graphic design proposal template and use it over and over again! This cuts the time you'd spend re-creating a new template in the future for your next client.



How to close the deal and get the proposal signed

You've done your research, put together a well-crafted pitch, and presented your ideas in a way that is both professional and easy to understand. But now comes the hard part: getting the client to sign on the dotted line. Here are a few tips to close the deal and get that contract signed:


  • Make it personal.

Your proposal should be tailored to the specific client and project. Generic proposals are a turn-off, and show that you haven't taken the time to really understand the client's needs.


  • Radiate confidence.

If you don't believe in your own ability to do the job, who will? Confidence is key in any sales situation, so make sure you project it in your proposal.


  • Check it, and then again.

Double-checking all of the deliverables to ensure that they meet the customer's expectations. It also means being proactive about addressing any concerns that the customer may have. By taking these extra steps, you can be confident that you're putting your best foot forward and giving the customer everything they need to make a decision in your favor. With a little effort, you can close the deal and get the proposal signed in no time. 



↘️ Fast-track your proposal acceptance and have your contract in place to avoid sticky situations. Download Verô's Complete Contract and customize it with the details of your business.




What to do after the proposal is accepted

Yippee! Your proposal has been accepted and you're one step closer to getting that shiny new project. But now what? Below are three things to do after your graphic design proposal is accepted, so you can kick off the project with a bang.


Celebrate, baby!

First, take a few deep breaths and celebrate. You did it! Now it's time to get down to business and have some fun.


Contract + Invoice to secure the spot.

Having your project proposal accepted is not the only step. Make sure to have a contract template ready to go and a link to your 50% project invoice. Once the client accepted the proposal, signed the contract and paid the 50% project invoice their spot is secured in your calendar.


If you need some advice on what you need to have in your graphic design contract, head over this way.


On-boarding the client.

It's time to prepare and make sure you have everything needed to start the project. Reach out to your new client and let them know the timeline and what you need from them. Get all the details about the project straightened so you can hit the ground running when the date comes.


Get designing!

And finally, start working on that killer design or brand identity. This is your chance to show (and wow) the client with your expertise, so don't hold back. Go forth and create something amazing!



Now it's your turn!

So, there you have it. My top tips for avoiding common proposal pitfalls and putting your best foot forward with potential clients. By following these simple guidelines, you can focus on what’s important – creating a great design that meets your client’s needs.


And don’t forget to download the Complete Contract so you can get started on your next project right away! This little document will help you streamline your proposal process, protect your work and ideas and avoid sticky situations from arising. I promise it will make the process of getting hired a lot easier (and less stressful).


The 3 major branding mistakes small businesses make & how to fix them today.