How UX/UI designers should write a design proposal
The humble design proposal is, perhaps, the most crucial text a UX/UI designer will ever write. This document outlines your specific approach to the client’s design brief — what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If successful, your proposal will become part of the contract you sign with the client. It all starts with the first word you type.
Many designers struggle with proposals, and for good reason. What should you say? How should you say it? It’s tough. This guide tells you how to create an incredible proposal that lands you your next design job. So read on for more and check out UXPin’s blog for further insights for designers like you.
Pro-tip: Wow clients by sending a user research plan alongside your design proposal. This document goes into further detail about how you plan to tackle the design brief, with specific goals and timelines. Here, we tell you how to create a user research plan.
What is a design proposal?
A design proposal is a document you send to clients (and sometimes stakeholders) that sets out your ideas for a specific design project. It’s not a resume. Or a cover letter. And each proposal should be unique to the project you are applying for. Prospective clients typically ask several designers to submit proposals at once and then compare these documents to determine the best person (or team) for the job.
Some clients might receive hundreds of proposals from designers, so you need yours to stand out from the crowd and not end up in the Trash folder.
What to include in your design proposal
There’s no set list of rules for what to include in your document, but here are some of the most common things you’ll find in design proposals:
- Your approach to the project. How will you prototype? How will you design? How will you meet the client’s needs (as outlined in the brief)?
- A brief bio. Your design history. Your credentials. Your skills. List the most important stuff. Sell yourself.
- Contact information. Don’t forget your phone number, email address, and a link to your website.
- Timeline. How long will it take you to complete the project? Are you working alone? Or with a team?
- Software/equipment. What tools will you use?
- Deliverables. How will you deliver the project?
- Testimonials from clients you have worked for
Pro-tip: Include your design budget in the proposal. It’s up to you. Some designers discuss financials later.
Your design proposal doesn’t have to be lengthy. Perhaps a page or two. You need just the right information to capture the client’s attention and convince everyone you are the right person for the project. You can detail the whats, whens, and hows of the project in your user research plan. We have templates for these documents, so you don’t have to create one from scratch. It’s just another reason so many world-class UX designers use the prototyping and design platform. Join us by starting a free trial.
Benefits of a design proposal
- Address the client’s needs
- Showcase your skills and experience
- Solve a design-related problem
- Communicate your passion for the project
- You could land a dream design job with one document
- Introduce awkward topics like payments and deadlines
- Use your design skills when creating your proposal (see below)
How to create a design proposal for UX/UI projects
Here are the most important things to consider when creating a design proposal for UX/UI projects.
Adapt your tone and style to the client
As a designer, you know how to engage with different audiences and demographics, so think of the proposal through this same paradigm. Research the company and choose the right language and style based on its values and culture. Use more formal language for a long-standing financial company, for example. Or adopt a casual approach when approaching a start-up in Brooklyn. This way, you can impress even the most difficult clients. Still not sure about how to approach the proposal? Discuss it with the rest of your design team and figure out the most appropriate solution.
Think about design all the time
Few designers pay attention to design when creating proposals and consider this document another formality. Take a fresh approach and view your proposal as an innovative way to showcase your design flair. Think about the fonts, images, logos, color schemes, shapes, contrast, and other design and graphical elements to include in your proposal. Don’t clutter the document, but include elements that highlight your value as a designer.
Prove your worth
There’s no space in your proposal to be modest. Clients want you to get straight to the point: Tell the world why you’re the best designer for the project. If you have the right skills, list them. If you won an award for your last project, talk about it. In an ever-competitive UX design marketplace, prove your worth. It might feel uncomfortable, but you could land the biggest and best job of your career.
Spend some time on your proposal because it could change your career. Clients want to see your experience, motivations, and ideas in one document, and with competition so fierce, you need to write a document that demands attention. Impress clients even more by coupling your proposal with a user research plan that details the specifics of the design project. UXPin has user research plan templates that speed up the process.
Access templates for the most important documents in design with UXPin, the design and prototyping tool for UX/UI professionals worldwide. Start your free trial.