What design school taught me about writing the perfect proposal

In design school we had a rule of three strikes your out. Meaning, if you miss three deadlines you fail the class. 

As an ambitious person, the rule of course wouldn’t bother me.

So when looking at or sourcing designers for your next project, you may not know there have been many creative briefs that landed on our laps and with deadlines set we as creatives work through a process to deliver the best solution to meet that brief.

You as a client or customer might see a shiny new design in my shop or elsewhere and it captures your interest, but the strategy part behind it? And what would their purchase really include? What about user experience design? And what on earth is Showit?

design school - by stephanie design

This is why proposals are important and why its my responsibility to educate my clients as part of my design process so they understand a bit more about my experience, what I’d propose for your business based on a chat, the costs, and those trusty old deadlines are addressed. (Note: I talked about working at a marketing agency in this blog post – it’s really not a bad idea to hire an independent designer or creative studio! )

It meets the client where they’re at so I can work to craft a solution that moves your business forward. 

And hopefully in doing so, sets you at ease. You may be more comfortable therefore to ask questions when I’m educating you from the outset. 

A Boutique Graphic & Showit Web Design Studio – by stephanie design


In design school we had a lot of projects thrown in our direction, and each and every time there was a goal attached to each. Whether it be re-vitalizing a package design to bring it up to current market standards and get people excited about it again, or designing for real-world clients that came to our school for help, or creating an entire brand identity not simply to give a business a new logo, but to strengthen and elevate their brand so they’re therefore likely to keep it consistent through other touch-points. Using design to solve the creative brief was our objective. 

I know there’s a real problem happening in your business. That’s why I decided to skip the tech jargon that may bore you and focus more of the goals of your project which speaks a bit more of your language in creating a solution that will make everything better. 

Related: When to Hire

Structured to fit

The experience allowed me to understand that each client has different pain points, and much like I would later explain my design decisions to them, the proposal outlines from the start how I will actually work to achieve those desired results.

Here’s how I translated that experience in crafting my own design studio’s proposals:

– My background
– An explanation of the goals of your branding and website 
– A complete outline of the features your website will include (including the website platform I built it on) 
– Payment Terms
– Additional fees (if applicable)
– Working with me
– The next steps

I touch briefly on how best to reach out to me!

Give YOU A deadline

I also make a note of how long you have to respond to the proposal by imposing a deadline of my own. My hope is I can guide you closer towards a decision with no regrets! 

In conclusion 

I hope this gives you a glimpse into the tools and systems I use in running my design studio which were honed all the way from college. I really want to impress my clients with a proposal that makes them see I understand their needs and can deliver on my promise to them. It’s one of the first steps in a positive working relationship!

At By Stephanie Design my mission is to help entrepreneurs make a stunning and enduring online impression. Through Showit lets propel your business forward and equip you with the tools necessary to make us better by design. 

February 12th, 2023


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owner & creative director of
by stephanie design 

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By Stephanie Hamilton