As a brand designer, there are a multitude of questions, thoughts and fears that likely run through your head right before pushing *send* on that project proposal. Questions like…
Am I charging enough?
What if the client thinks this price is way too high?
What if they don’t think I’m worth it?
Are they going to be impressed or disappointed?
And as a brand designer, all you really want is for that (dream) client to take a look at your proposal, decide that you’re the expert they’re looking for, and book the project. So, yes, there’s a lot on the line!
(We may or may not be frantically typing this as we speak.)
Let’s discuss some ways that you can improve your proposals, so that you can feel more confident when sending them off! Because when it comes to sending proposals and booking projects, confidence is half the battle. You’re already the expert they’re looking for – they just need to know it.
01 / Outline the client’s business goals, and describe how this project will get them there.
Clients don’t always understand just how much a well-developed brand design can impact their business. Sure, they might know that in the long run, it’s important to have a cohesive brand. What they sometimes fail to realize is the fact that a beautifully-branded business can actually impact their overall and immediate business goals!
So, as the brand designer (aka expert) in this situation, it’s your job to outline how this specific project will help them achieve their overall business goals. As an example, before we share any kind of pricing, we always include a page that lists out 3 goals that the client has for their business, and how we’ll use design elements to help achieve them.
In order to make sure you include those business goals in your client’s proposal, you’re going to need to find out what those goals are, first. It always helps to have a Zoom or phone call with potential clients before sending their design proposal. Scheduling an initial call will allow you to talk more in depth with the client about their goals so that you can include them in your proposal! Plus, you’ll get to know the client better, answer lingering questions they have about your process, and show your expertise. As a general rule of thumb, calls are much more memorable and relationship-driven than communicating via email. If your client is speaking with multiple designers, you’re more likely to make a better impression by having a real conversation with them, in real time. (Yes, we introverts are big fans of speaking on the phone. Who would have thought?)
02 / Give the client multiple package options to choose from.
Rather than putting together a single “take it or leave it” style package and proposal, we recommend giving your potential clients 3 different options to choose from. All three of those options should include various price points and scopes.
Including 3 design package options will benefit your client by giving them the ability to choose the option that best aligns with their needs and budget. It also benefits you as the designer, because the client has more options to choose from – meaning they’ll be less likely to say no!
A few tips to help you put together these 3 packages:
- Make sure to discuss your client’s budget in your introductory call. This will allow you to have an idea of what price range they’re expecting, so you can avoid sticker shock later.
- Out of your 3 options, make sure that at least 1 is within the client’s budget. By doing so, you’ll be able to feel confident that they will book, because you already know they can afford it. Then, the other two packages can be priced however you’d like!
- Don’t be afraid to get creative with your packages! If the client’s budget is low compared to your standard prices, consider other ways to offer value and assistance to them, without lowering your rates. Maybe you can make the lowest package a consulting call rather than a full branding project, which would be an option that remains within their budget, but is still fair to you. No need to give any discounts, just take things out of the project scope to lower the cost!
- Don’t offer a package option that you wouldn’t enjoy working on. If the client’s budget is so low that you have to take out all of the valuable parts of your services, then maybe they just aren’t ready to work with someone like you! In that case, it would be better to refer them to someone else.
03 / Share detailed insight about the cost of design.
Look, some clients just have no idea what to expect when it comes to pricing for design services. And if we’re honest with ourselves, that’s not really their fault!
Whether they lack familiarity with the design industry, or have simply never worked with a creative before, they’ve probably never had to truly consider what all goes into branding, and the cost of design work.
We make it a practice to include a page in our proposals that breaks down the overall cost of design, so that our clients understand what’s behind the big number. A few things we always touch on?
- Time – because SO much work happens behind the scenes that clients will never see, but that time and effort is still part of what they are paying for.
- Experience – because we’ve been in this industry for a while and we know what pricing is appropriate.
- Value – because design can and will have a big impact on their business! Whatever they spend on this project, we expect them to make that investment back because of our work. That’s valuable!
Positive perception is the foundation of every successful design proposal.
One of the most important steps of creating a successful design proposal is ensuring that your clients understand what they are paying for, the impact it’ll have, and why it’s worth it. When you know you’ve helped your prospective clients see those benefits, you’ll instantly feel more confident sending out your proposals, and pitching higher prices.
Now, that’s not all your proposals should cover.
There’s a lot more information that clients need to know before they book with you. Information like: what your process is, how you’ll communicate during the project, how they’ll pay you, and what happens if the sky falls. So, if you’re feeling a bit lost about what to include in your proposals, grab our Project Proposal Template for designers!
Project Proposal Template for Designers
Our 15+ page InDesign template will help you pitch your services, outline your pricing, explain your process, and set expectations in a thoughtful and comprehensive way. In the Proposal Template, you’ll receive page layouts and fill in the blank prompts to help you:
- Outline the client’s goals
- Create a project overview with total investment, estimated timeline + list of deliverables
- Share payment plan(s) + info on how to pay
- Explain the value of your work
- Outline each step of your process
- Set expectations for communication + establishing boundaries
- Explain any penalties for delays or late feedback
- Share in-progress work
- Give general tips for working with a designer
- Ask final questions to quickly understand if the client is ready to move forward
You’ll also receive a video tutorial, where we’ll walk you through the purpose behind each page, and show examples from one of our own client proposals!
Sounds pretty good, right?