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What's in This Template?

  • A pricing section that will get clients to focus on value instead of cost
  • Real-life examples you can tweak and apply to your projects
  • Proposal sections based on both the persuasive problem/solution framework
  • And more!

Graphic Design Proposal Template: Your Blueprint for More Clients

You didn't become a graphic designer to write.

You excel in helping your clients communicate visually through compelling images, designs and typography.

So when you're forced to sit down and write a proposal, you might feel like a fish out of water.

Good news: it doesn't have to be like that anymore!

Instead of wasting countless hours agonizing over proposals, you can transform them into effective sales tools that get your foot in the door with dream clients.


It comes down to understanding what a winning proposal looks like, how to arrange it, and which elements to include. With the right template to guide you and a little practice, you'll land more of the clients you want while freeing up more time for what you love: design.

Ready to get started?

You've got questions, we've got answers. Let's dive in.

What is a Graphic Design Proposal?

A lot of designers get tripped up in the very beginning. Because they never really understand what an effective proposal looks like, they end up submitting documents that are poor reflections of the value they could deliver to potential clients.

“Project proposal” sounds too business-oriented for many creative designers' taste. But it's the perfect opportunity to show clients that you can do a lot more than just dream up flashy new looks.

The primary purpose of every graphic design proposal is to convey to clients that your solutions will look great and create a positive impact on their business.

Some designers get caught up on the first element but neglect the second. To stand out from the pack, you'll use your proposals to explore the business pain points behind the project and how you'll solve them. This takes more than just a price quote and link to your portfolio!

What else do you need to include?

Let's talk about that now…

Common Sections (and Structure) of a Winning Graphic Design Proposal

“Graphic design” has become an umbrella term for all kinds of visual communication and design work. You might be working on posters one day, letterhead and business cards the next, and designing t-shirts over the weekend.

This means that there is a huge variation in both the scope and complexity of graphic design projects.

Helping a local restaurant design a logo for their website is a lot more straightforward than helping a huge corporation create a look for a new product line, design the packaging, and coordinate the marketing materials.

Winning graphic design proposals adapt to the variation between projects. While all proposals share some key structure and elements, more complex projects require more information to help clients visualize the process and reassure them that they're making a smart investment.

Here are the key elements to include in small-scale graphic design proposals:

Small-scale design project elements

  • [Service] challenge. Pinpoint the specific graphic design need that led the client to offer the project. This will probably be only one or two of the graphic design services you could provide. Some of the most common examples are: visual identity, magazine and book layouts, print ads, posters and billboards, and product packaging.
  • Design solution. Describe the specific service(s) you will use to achieve the client's goal. Make sure to explain how your services will improve the client's business (better reputation, market share, loyal customers, etc.)
  • Investment. Set out how much it will cost to meet the client's design challenge.
  • Next steps. Ask the readers to act, and give them a simple way to accept your proposal.

Other projects will be a lot more involved. Here are the key elements to include in the proposal for those situations:

Large-scale design project elements

  • Design goals and opportunities. Lay out the painful business problem(s) that pushed the client to offer the design project. This is a good opportunity to mention insights you've gathered through your own research and in your discovery call with the client.
  • Project recommendations. Recommend specific design services (visual identity, packaging, print ads and billboards, etc.) that will solve the painful business problem. Explain how your services will work together to benefit the client.
  • What to expect. Break down design services and any tools or technologies you will use to provide them. For each service, describe what the process entails and how it benefits the client.
  • Timeline and milestones. Here is where you describe which pieces of the project will happen when. Tables are usually the best way to help clients visualize the process. The idea is to set expectations and create an easy reference point they can turn back to later.
  • Investment
  • About us. What is it about your team, design process, and experience that makes you the best fit for this project? Discuss that in this section.
  • Featured projects. Include a few examples of your past graphic design work. Before and after photos and/or screen shots are great here. Describing how your work improved past clients' businesses will make this section even more compelling.
  • How to get started
  • Terms and conditions

Questions to Ask Clients Before You Get Started

The proposal process starts before you sit down and write.

By getting potential clients on a quick phone call or Skype meeting, you can pull out a ton of key insights you won't find anywhere else.

Remember that, while you might struggle with proposals as a designer, plenty of clients will struggle to write requests for proposals (RFPs). Talking it out verbally can save time and clarify the most important issues.

Some designers (your competitors) won't think to even do this. Your willingness to set up a meeting shows the client that you're truly invested in understanding their situation and doing everything you can to solve it.

If you enter the meeting with the right questions, you'll make a great impression and leave with great nuggets to include in the proposal:

Here are some key questions to ask in your initial meeting:

  • Are there any designs you love and/or hate? Which ones? Why?
  • Do you have a company philosophy you want to reflect in your visual communications?
  • Do you have any specific elements, colors, and typography preferences you'd like to incorporate in your visual identity?
  • Have you worked with a freelance graphic designer or agency before? If so, what was your experience like? What did you like and not like about the process?
  • In your mind, what makes a design successful? Which factors are you looking at to make that determination?
  • What separates you from your competitors? (this will help you start brainstorming how to convey this when communicating visually)
  • Which resources do you have available to work with us?
  • Could you fill us in on your ideal level of involvement? (this could range from minimal to close oversight and creative input)
  • Who is your target audience? Do you have demographic, customer support, and/or survey data to help us understand? Have you created use cases or customer personas?

Wrapping Up

Sticking to the blueprint above will help you save time on your proposals and make the right impression with clients.

With enough knowledge and practice, even graphic designers can learn to love – or at least tolerate – the proposal process!

Preview: Graphic Design Proposal Template

Graphic Design Proposal Template Cover Image

{client_name}’s Goals and Objective

Goals and Objective

{client_name} can deliver massive value to its customers, but it won’t get the chance if doesn’t make a great first impression. Top-quality graphic design will get target customers’ attention, express {client_name}’s unique personality, and encourage viewers to become leads and customers. The right graphic design services will:

  • Grab the attention of {client_name}’s target customers and stand out from competitors
  • Inspire confidence among {client_name}’s customers and encourage referrals
  • Project an image of professionalism, both online and offline

If {client_name} doesn’t invest in graphic design services tailored to showcase its unique value, it could blend in with its competitors and miss opportunities. Poor graphic design gives visitors an impression that {client_name} isn’t the best choice for their needs, which could hurt {client_name}’s market share and slow long-term growth.

Meeting {client_name}’s Graphic Design Needs

{my_company}’s graphic design services will create the following results for {client_name}:

  • Created an unforgettable company logo to mark {client_name} as a true professional – As competition continues to increase in the market, it’s crucial to put your best foot forward. Our designers will work with you, creating a logo to match your vision for your brand and the message you want to convey to customers. We’ll use visual elements to get this message across in an appealing, unforgettable way.
  • Designed professional letterhead and business cards – Conveying an image of professionalism online isn’t worth much if you follow it up with unprofessional offline materials. That’s why we’ll integrate your logo into critical print materials – letterhead and business cards – to polish your image offline.
  • Developed a cohesive graphic identity that reflects {client_name}’s unique brand – Your logo, business cards, and letterhead aren’t designed in a vacuum. Each is a crucial element of your graphic identity. Our team sees the big picture, and they’ll work with you to create consistency across different materials they design. The more consistent your graphic identity across platforms, the more memorable it will be for customers.

Recommended Design Services

Recommended Design Services

To meet {client_name}’s needs, as outlined above, we recommend the following design services as part of this project:

Design of {client_name}’s Company Logo

{my_company}’s designers will meet with {client_name} to hear its vision for a logo and offer input to help {client_name} accomplish its design goals. {my_company}’s designers will create several preliminary design sketches, get feedback from {client_name}, and finalize the design. {client_name} gets complete control over the mark, logotype, color scheme, and font selections.

Design of {client_name}’s Business Cards

After getting input from {client_name}, {my_company} will design 100% customized business cards to reflect {client_name}’s unique brand. {my_company} will integrate the finalized logo into the design. Once the design is complete, {my_company} will also print 500 business cards and ship them to up to 10 of {client_name}’s employees, dividing them at {client_name}’s discretion.

Design of {client_name}’s Letterhead

{my_company} will meet with {client_name} to hear its preferences for letterhead design. Then {my_company} will design fully customized letterhead that incorporates the finalized logo that matches {client_name}’s vision. Once the design is complete, {my_company} will also print 500 letterhead and ship them to up to 10 of {client_name}’s employees, dividing them at {client_name}’s discretion.

Consummate Professional Graphic Identity Solution

  • Design consultation – Our designers will meet with your team to learn more about your brand and the image you want to convey. We’ll also offer recommendations to help you achieve your design goals. Then we’ll agree on basic logo, business card, and letterhead concepts.
  • Logo design – Our designers will create 3-4 preliminary sketches. We’ll consult with your team and incorporate their feedback before settling on a final logo design. You’ll get final say on the mark, logotype, color scheme, and font selections.
  • Business card design – We'll integrate the finalized logo design into 3-4 business card options. Then we’ll run the designs by your team for feedback and finalize the business card design. Once the design is complete, we’ll print 500 business cards and send them to up to 10 of your employees.
  • Letterhead design – We'll integrate the finalized logo design into 3-4 letterhead options. Then we’ll run the designs by your team for feedback and finalize the letterhead design. Once the design is complete, we’ll print 500 letterhead and send them to up to 10 of your employees.

Why Choose {my_company}?

{client_name} needs to make a great first impression to win business and stand out from competitors. But it can’t afford to spend precious time learning and applying principles of effective graphic design. Hiring a company like {my_company} takes care of the issue; {client_name} gets to focus on the big picture of running its business while we worry about the visual presentation. We’ll bring the following strengths in our work for {client_name}:

  • {my_company} has offline and online design expertise – Our team, relying on a combination of digital and print design skills, knows how to bring its talents together to create the perfect look no matter where you do business.
  • {my_company} includes unlimited revisions until you get the look you want – Some designers limit their clients to one or two revisions. We want to give you the exact look you want; “close enough” won’t cut it. That’s why we offer unlimited revisions. Our designers will work with you until they achieve the perfect look.
  • {my_company} includes free printing and ships the materials directly to you – Hiring a designer to revamp your graphic identity is a strategic investment. We’ll help you make the most of it. Our services include printing of 500 business cards and letterhead. We’ll also save you time and trouble by shipping them directly to your office.

Project Timeline

Should {client_name} choose {my_company} to execute this solution as proposed, our timeline for this project is as follows:

Phase Activities Completion
Design Consultation Meeting between {client_name}’s team and {my_company}’s designers; identification of {client_name}’s top design priorities and recommendations delivered by {my_company}. 10/31/XX
Logo Design Creation of 3-4 prelimary logo design sketches by {my_company}’s designers; feedback from {client_name}; finalizing logo design. 11/20/XX
Business Card and Letterhead Design Creation of 3-4 business card and letterhead design options by {my_company}’s designers; feedback from {client_name}; integration of logo and finalizing the designs. 12/15/XX
Business Card and Letterhead Printing Printing of 500 business cards and letterhead by {my_company}, divided among up to 10 employees at {client_name}’s discretion; shipping materials to {client_name}’s office. 12/20/XX

Next Steps

To take advantage of this proposal and proceed with the project as outlined, {client_name}’s next steps must be to:

  • Accept the proposal as-is
  • Discuss desired changes with {my_company}
  • Finalize and sign the contract
  • Submit an initial payment of 50 percent of total project fee

Next Steps

Once completed, {my_company} will contact {client_name} to schedule a project launch meeting to make introductions and gather information before beginning the work.

We’re happy to make changes to project scope on {client_name}’s request at any time, but may be subject to additional billing.

Terms and Conditions

Once project fee is paid in full to {my_company}, any elements of text, graphics, photos, contents, trademarks, or other artwork furnished to {client_name} for inclusion in website are owned by {client_name}.

{my_company} assumes {client_name} has permission from the rightful owner to use any code, scripts, data, and reports are provided by {client_name} for inclusion in its materials, and will hold harmless, protect, and defend {my_company} from any claim or suit arising from the use of such work.

{my_company} retains the right to display graphics and other web content elements as examples of their work in their portfolio and as content features in other projects.

This agreement becomes effective only when signed by agents of {client_name} and {my_company}. Regardless of the place of signing of this agreement, {client_name} agrees that for purposes of venue, this contract was entered into in [STATE] and any dispute will be litigated or arbitrated in [STATE].

The agreement contained in this contract constitutes the sole agreement between {client_name} and the {my_company} regarding all items included in this agreement.