Graphic Design Proposals Made Simple – Video Tutorial

By: Wes McDowell | October 6th, 2011 | 14 comments

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Video By The Deep End Graphic Design

Part 1: The Graphic Design Proposal

Download my sample proposal here

When I was getting started as a graphic designer, there were two things that confused the hell out of me. I didn’t know how to handle them, and to be honest, I really didn’t even know the difference between them. I am of course talking about proposals and contracts. I would search online for resources, and everything I found only served to confuse me more. I couldn’t find any clear-cut examples to look to for guidance. Remembering my initial struggle, I am going to try to change that for new designers, by putting out this 4 part video series showing you exactly what you should include, and providing lots of examples along the way. I have even included a downloadable PDF of the proposal I use for The Deep End. I use it for logo design clients, web design clients, and everything in between, and it has worked extremely well for me so far.

In short, the proposal is your sales pitch to a prospective client. You will usually write a proposal after you have had your initial consultation with the client, where hopefully you have asked all the right questions, and done a little digging. In your graphic design proposal, you will demonstrate your knowledge about what the client’s needs are, and you will lay out an action plan for how you will address those needs. You will also give some background information on yourself or your company to make the client feel like you are the right choice for the project. You will include a project timeline, and a line item estimate or quote, so they know how much they should expect to pay you, and when.

A proposal is not a contract. In my next blog post, I will continue with Part 2 of the video series, which will cover contracts fully, so you can see the difference between the two. Stay tuned!

14 Responses to Graphic Design Proposals Made Simple – Video Tutorial

  1. Chad B. says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time out to make these videos and provide samples. It is a MUCH needed source for newbies in the business side of creative design such as myself. This is what makes the world go round… helping each other and not being greedy with knowledge attained. You are the man! Thanks so much again! You’ve gained a fan.

  2. Wes McDowell says:

    Hey thanks Chad! I totally agree, I’ve never been one for information hoarding. Its kind of an old fashioned way of looking at the world, so I’m more than happy to share what I’ve learned. Are you subscribed to the podcast yet? If not, check it out:

  3. Katie says:

    This video is very helpful. Thanks so much for posting it. I’m loving your site. It is inspiring. I subscribed to your podcast today. :)

  4. Patricia says:

    Thank you very much for making this video and sharing your sample proposal. It was extremely helpful to me as I embark on this new chapter of my design career. I will definitely be subscribing to the podcast and returning to the blog. Much appreciated!!

  5. Wes McDowell says:

    Thanks Patricia, did you listen to the proposal episode of the podcast? Lots of good info there too!

  6. Michael says:

    Thanks so much for this! Extremely helpful article, really helped me today.

  7. Thanks to your outstanding videos, I have just completed a 5-page government design contract that will be submitted next week. Your video is excellent—detailed enough, but not overwhelming, and providing just the right amount of info to make the contract professional and inspiring. The process of creating it also helped me to work through branding and design issues that I might otherwise not have thought of until much farther along in the design work. I hope that this will help me (and the team at the government offices) to be ahead of the curve. Thank you so much!

  8. David Ebanks says:

    Hi Wes,

    I’m a 28 year old Graphic Designer from Kingston, Jamaica. I’ve learnt so much from your videos and felt I’d be doing an injustice not saying how much I appreciate your free consultations! Your tutorials were clear, easy to follow and very resourceful (I’ll check out your podcasts later). Keep up the great work and thanks for publicly sharing this needed information with members within this industry. It really attests to your maturity and competence in art and design. Keep up the great work!


  9. Finn says:

    Thanks again Wes. As an aside you are much better looking than you sound. You play yourself down on the podcast. I mean it goes without saying that Mikkele (?) is hot. I am sure Kris Jenner was all like “is that a young John Cusack in Starbuck’s…”. Anyway – long time listener and although an experienced Marketing Mangager I am happiest designing and now building some sites. I needed some help getting off my arse and you guys have been the kick that I needed. Cheers from South Australia (and thanks for the Lynda discount – and yes I will give you a great review on iTunes)…
    Appreciate all you do.
    Stay cool.

  10. Roni Santos says:

    Thanks Wes for this big help. I’ve been in the business since 1991 but haven’t really given thought to properly craft a “professional” proposal. Much appreciation.

    I’m from Manila, Philippines :)


  1. […] Part 1: The Graphic Design Proposal here Download my sample contract […]

  2. […] Part 1: The Graphic Design Proposal here Download my sample contract […]

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