Required Components of a Design Proposal
So part two is what goes in a proposal right? So what is the anatomy of a proposal and a little discussion around delivering the proposal so you has ready for required components ok, so we're going to talk about the required components so like what's what's in a basic proposal then we're going to talk about some optional elements that you can slot in then we're going to talk about how you deliver a proposal to a quiet and then some tips for making that a little bit easier so ok, this is the required components of a proposal so what every proposal has right a title page a description of the opportunity right? So what did we talk about? This is what I heard you said he wanted right um how you're going to solve that problem right? So that's the approach the timeline so how long it's going to take to get that done? How much it's going to cost and next steps now we're going to go into each one of these in greater specificity. So so the first page this one's easy everyone khun to this you ca...
n leave this cause today knowing that you've done one of the six required components so the first is is the title page right? And I think a lot of times in business documents you'd be surprised there's no title page and there are no page numbers and when you're working at a company and it's really crazy there's a lot of information that's being exchanged and that information gets scattered like leaves to the wind people forward it to other people and and uh so you want to make sure that you're putting your stamp kind of on the ownership of this information and that the information is easy to navigate for your client so I I'm a big fan of not only total pages but page numbers so the things that go into a title page is the client names so in this case I have invented a fictitious company called biscuit laboratories um and the project description or a project name is the logo identity and website redesign so that's what we talked about you put the date on there and then your name and your contact information so super easy super straightforward next level of complexity is the opportunity, right? So the opportunity is your chance to demonstrate a solid understanding of what you guys talked about um and you're going to describe what you heard that your client wanted and needed so the next bullet points that are under there are things that could go into the opportunity section this is the part where the vernacular kind of gets ah ah there's a lot of different ways to talk about this information right? It could be an introduction you could be talking about the goals of the project you could be talking about the objectives you could write an overview right sometimes it's called an executive summary it's all the same thing or shades of the same thing but it's describing the opportunity and that's the kind of first section of the proposal. So this is an example of a knopper to nitty section that I uh wrote for biscuit laboratories this fictitious business so I'm going to read that two guys um it's introduction or delighted to present a proposal to architect design and build transactional website for biscuit laboratories biscuit laboratories wants an online destination where you can almost taste the food and one where customers return often to engage with the brand um I'm sort of regurgitating what my fictitious client said right? I'm even quoting them right where you can almost taste the food the things that they said were really, really important to them you could easily say I'm going to make a website for you but I think that you could say in a more persuasive way just a little bit more um the next that I've decided to include in this opportunity section is the goals so what what did the clients say? They said that they wanted this thing but why did they want this thing? They want this website but what are they going to do with it? What did I hear so in this case we need to find the vision they they asked me for that, right? I want a website that is, like the best, most tasty place online that people love and go to and shows off my food. Well, um, but other than that, they kind of don't know what it's going to be comprised of create a web site that showcases mouthwatering food and invites participation, the recipes, competitions and online learning. So maybe in the course of our conversation, they said, like, you know, we just don't want the website to be a brochure we want the website to be a place where people go to a lot and and find stuff and and go back to and really enjoy, right? So I'm trying to take that aspiration and turn it into more of a formal language around that expand the browned expression to include video by creating content, that's, authentic, satisfying, inventive and full of flavor. So maybe they said they want video content and they wanted to be on browned but that's all they told me, right, so but we also maybe talked about their brand attributes, and so I understand that so I'm saying your video content is going to be on brand and it's going to feel like this, right? Onda last is create an experience that works across mobile, tablet and web, so maybe in our discussion they said, I just want everyone to be able to use it, you know, like on your phone and, you know, at your computer, right? So I'm kind of restating that, but in a more sort of polished way, um, okay, so at the top of reiterating the client aspirations, and I'm using their language, um, the next his approach, right? So this is where you're going to describe how the work's going to get done and the kind of services that you're going to perform, right? And you might even talk about what you're going to deliver. So in the approach section, you're going to include things like what your processes? Well, your project activities are what methodology? What are your recommendations? Right? Um, and then also, what specific deliverables? Heidi, and we're kind of gradually going through here's what I heard you said he wanted here's here's the goals of what you want, and now we're going to go one love, well, deeper in describing, um, describing how we're going to solve that problem and the things that were the tools and services that we're going to use in service of accomplishing that, so this is an example of an approach again for pyszka laboratories um I've decided to break it down into phases here where I'm talking about the discovery phase the definition phase the design phase in the implementation phase I think faith is thinking is a common way that that designers talk about their process the phases have lots of different names you know so uh and you don't have to describe phases if you don't want tio I just happen to because I find it useful because I believe that there's this information gathering step and then we work to define the problem and then we propose ideas and we will find that we finally make the thing um and I think that's true for any design process so you know however you want to orient the client to to have the work is going to unfold so in this case for the discovery we're going to conduct stakeholder interviews we're going to review existing doc documentation and establish a working baseline right that's the very first thing that we're going to dio in our work the next thing is we're going to create a site map in wire frames that demonstrate the vision for the web experience of the brand and we're also going to share prototypes of signature interactions and this is where you can start using language that's true to your process and you're not like quoting your client or trying to use any industry buzz words this approach is how you work right, so whatever that is for you um, so the design is after we aligned on the desired side experience, we're going to create options for a distinct on brand enticing visual design system to be used across web, tablet, mobile and social and during the implementation will extend the final approve design system to the great upon deliverables and we'll also build the sand us so now the client knows that I know that they want a website that they want their website to really feel like them, and this is how this is the process for how we're going to make that thing together. S o again, I'm using the phases kind of idea to explain that and I'm talking about the services and the activities that I would perform during this process, okay? Timeline so so now we're going toe set the schedule for when things get done and because I use this phase model, I'm goingto reiterate the phases in this proposal, I'm going to talk about the specific deliverables so I may have said wire frames in the approach, but now is the point in the process where, as part of the timeline, I'm going to get even more specific about what those wire frames are right um and also the completion date or relevant dates so this is an example for the definition phase and in the definition phase like I said I said I was gonna make wire frames, so, um, so here I'm actually delineating that it's more than just wire frames, right? We have wire frame of that consumer facing experience, and we have a wire frame set of the of the the cms do you guys know cms content management system, right? So that's, what the employees of the company are going to see when they when they manage the website themselves, but there's two different experiences that were crafting a cz part of this project, and we hadn't talked about that really before, and so we were kind of expanding on this idea for your client. That aa lot of work is going to get done because we're leading to are the fees, right? So we want to make sure that they're like, oh, wow, aa lot goes into this, you know, before they get to the money part. So so in this case, I'm talking about, you know, the phase that we're in, I'm talking about the duration, you don't have to put the duration, but you can I find the duration is helpful because later on in the proposal process, the dates might become like completely. Roland because it took so long to negotiate up front so quiet might come to you and sail and you know website in a month or whatever and then you could spend two weeks you know, figuring out how you're going to get paid and what you're actually doing and all of a sudden you've written these you know, dates in this proposal and they're totally not valid so I like to do let them know that it's about four weeks work or two weekswork or whatever it is um and then uh the start date in the end date of that phase so the definition phase is going to happen you know, for four weeks from the state to the state the specific deliverables so we talked a little about that about how I said wire frames before but there's really a lot more that's going to go into that um and the other thing that is useful here is tio is to get even more specific about about what those deliverables are, how long they are and how many revisions you're going to get right? So where things can go totally awry is that you know, you're not really sure how big the website's going to be because you know it doesn't exist yet, right? And um if you're charging by the project right, so you're charging a flat fee for the creation of this website then then you don't want tio create a massive amount of work for yourself up front and then have ah um not get paid enough for your time, right? So s so at this point you're saying I'm gonna make this website for you, but it can't be more than ten templates or it can't be more than five pages, and we're going to look at these wire frames and these flows, but I'm only going to do thirty pages of that or sixty pages of that or five pages of that, whatever that is so that you're not you're not, um, working a ton and not seeing money and value for yourself on the other side of that. So here I'm especially in the last bullet point I'm saying that I'm going to show you these signature interactions, but I'm not going to show you more than three, and we're going to pick one and we're going to refine that one no more than twice right? And when you say things like that, um, if things get out of control with the client, you can actually begin to enforce your contract, right, and that's that's the boundaries part of it, and I think, uh, you know, setting that for yourself and making it really clear to your client up front is a good idea have you guys struggled with, like, too many revisions or yeah, how long do you typically like after meeting with her claim for the first time do you tell them they had to get back to them with that proposal a good question? It really depends on what's going on for me, you know? And it depends on, um how yeah, it depends on what's going on for me. It's so if I'm really busy combo platter, how what's going on for me and how bad I want the project, right? So there's projects that we work on that are good for our portfolio there's projects that we worked on that pass well and then there's those projects that you really really want, you know, and all of a sudden you have this, like, super power of being able to like, I'm just after midnight to link to the proposal because, you know, I like really want this instead of, like, I'll do tomorrow, you know, so there's a little bit of, like, your personal barometer in that, um and then there's ah, um the aspect of being timely, so I do think it's it's really important to get back to clients by the time they're asking you to help them they haven't need and you don't know how many other people they're talking to, and so I think you want you want to be timely and, um you also want to set their expectations in the process of you know you're really busy it's fine to say hey you know, I thank you so much I'm so excited to do this um I'll have something for you next week or early next week or by friday, right? You know so you can set that time and then the other thing that I like to dio is if I'm feeling a little soft on it like god, I really want to get it done by friday but I don't know if I can um or you know, I really want to get it done by um by monday but I don't know if I can I will say something like early next week, right? So I'm not saying like monday at nine a m you know or I might say like end of day right? And sometimes if you get kind of out of control in the work and it just takes longer than you thought um end of day is different than close of business so I'm always like I'm going to try to get it by close of business you know, like five o'clock that's what I want to do it but sometimes that doesn't happen you know and I feel like well, if I said end of day if it goes up indicted spite or like before they get to work in the morning, that kind of thing um okay, so now the fun part the money hey eso your are going to decide how much you want to be paid and you're going to side how you want to be paid right? So it's probably most likely that you guys will be paid either by the hour or by the project and that's something that you are going to decide for yourselves, right? Do you have an hourly rate? And you know, uh is that the model that you're going to base your pricing off of or are you going to charge? You know, x you charge extra websites no matter what they are. So in the fees section, you're gonna have one of these types of pricing, not all of them. Um eso eso like I said, I really great and price by the project is probably the most common. Um the next is another way of pricing is by deliver ble so you know, I charge x for wire frames or, you know, expert three logos or whatever that is less common one in freelance design but still but common in the advertising world of freelance design is day rates. So you know, how much do you charge for the day? Um and a retainer is even less common. I have dream of a retainer if anybody wants sorted me because I feel like retainers or that thing where oh they're never going to use all the hours that they're booking of my time right? So s so I'm going to make all this extra money but that never it's um so this is an example of some content that you could use depending on which type of fee structure you wanna have um ah you would choose something like this so for an hourly rate you're talking about you know what your rate is and I said, you know, we will provide an estimate of the number of hours at kickoff of each phase for the client to sign off and progress reports of burned down throughout you could easily say it's fifty dollars an hour at a max of forty hours a week and you know I build by the hour that's fine um if you're charging by phase, you're going to talk about you know what? Whatever language you use for your faces and then the cost for that on been a day rate I just gave an example here of project work will be conducted three days a week until the specified project completion date a t agreed upon rate of three hundred fifty dollars a day and I'm giving them like a little discount on the rate because maybe I want them tio book me for like lots of days instead of instead of, you know, twelve hours I'd rather get like several days out of a project on guy put a cap in there like total few shall not exceed ten thousand dollars without prior written consent that's so that might be something like we're going to work on a day rate we actually hired you to explore an idea we don't know what we want for our website and we want to see a lot of options we don't know what we want for our logo and we want to see just ideas and we're ok with using your time in head space to show that to us so we can have a discussion right? Um so that might be something that you want to dio when the project doesn't have, like an obvious beginning and end the type of work that you do and the last is next steps eso for next steps it's going to include what the client needs to d'oh to move forward, so you've told them everything you've told them like everything you could possibly think of right? This is what you want this is how we're going to do it it's great to work with me. I've got you like you're instilling confidence you're you're specifying what you're going to deliver you're protecting yourself a little bit along the way by using clearance specific language and now it's time to say your turn right? So this is an example of next steps and I'm going to read this one to you so in order to proceed with this proposal the next steps for biscuit laboratories are except the project as outlined above so accept everything that I said and we're all good right review and discuss any desired changes so I'm listening to you if I didn't get it right I want to have dialogue with you about that um and the last is finalizing fully execute the contract so fully execute means I signed a new sign and we have a legal binding document that's what fully executed means um I'm also putting in a little note there about wanting some upfront payment so we're going to talk about terms in a minute but I'm letting them though that that I'm setting their expectations that that I want a little money up front and if you are working by the hour and you're working you know, as a employee of a company it's highly even as a contractor but as a freelancer it's highly unlikely that you're going to get up front payment up front payments are very common though in when you do project work so you're saying look in order for me to even start on this you gotta you gotta give me a person to be the percentage of this project and the last is politely saying that if you want other things that are in this proposal I'm going to charge you for that so like I said time tio time to negotiate or clarify where you are in the process I wanted up front payment and you get what you pay for but only what you pay for you don't get other stuff that's outside of this agreement so that's the basic proposal that is a huge step forward in in whatever courtship you've had with your client so far and is like amazing because you just took something that was a conversation into something that's actually really for people and would be if you could fill out six pages of that that would be a perfectly amazing way tio propose ok, so now of optional components any questions so far? Okay, so optional components so these are things that you can add to the proposal, which are some of them are nice to haves on we'll go through each of them. So like I said earlier about the setting of your client's expectations part on dh the misalignment you don't know where your proposal is going to go right? Meaning you give it to your client, they may be an individual, but they may start they may show it to their friend, you know and say, well, what do you think like it's a lot of money, I don't know, you know or in a more complicated scenario, they may bring it back to their business and have a meeting a team meeting where everybody's like reviewing this thing that you made without you being there so it's nice to put in if you want a client list about the team if you're working with someone else maybe then just yourself you know maybe you're you're a web designer and you know you have a developer that you're bringing in to to do this project on ben a little bit about the company if you're an individual you know one like about paige about me or you know that talks about the company would be fined tio you don't have a team pigeon not really have a team in the last two are the terms in the signature page and that's where it goes from ah from this basic proposal into a more full proposal and potentially a legally binding document and we're going to go through each of these I'm just wondering like after looking over obviously the legal binding of everything have you ever or do you experience clients usually changing any kind of aspect of that proposal after the four young yeah sure that's called a change order um and um that is something where it also has to be negotiated right so you can you can decide how formal you are in that in how you want to manage your business and your client relationships you can say you know you might have a relationship with a client maybe it's um your mom's co worker or something or maybe it's a family friend or someone that you feel like there's a reasonable amount of trust with and you can just say, you know, I'll send you over another, you know, one cheater thatjust similar to what actually, you know, we were we were talking about before where it's, just a quick right up, like, we're also going to dio um, you know, another piece we're going toe increase the scope in this way, and, you know, we're going to keep the terms of the we're going agree toe keep the terms of the previous a contract that we set forth, or you can actually establish a change order. So if you're working with a large corporation and you're like on their paper, it's likely that you have the master services agreement in place, which is where all the details of the business relationship are set out in all the terms are agreed to. And so when you initiate projects, you're initiating them via a statement of work, which is the more simple thing that that we were talking about earlier that you had created, and then in that you like initiated change order on top of that, so, like the more complicated the business, the bigger the business is, the more likely that they have a legal team that's like dedicated to serving that business, at which point, the more likely the paper is that they have to navigate this kind of stuff. Um, so representative client list, this is an old one of mine, and, uh, you can approach the kind list in a bunch of ways I wanted the client that I made this for to think I like, worked and did a lot of things, so I was just like, who did I like, who didn't even talk to that? Maybe I could, like, say, it was a quiet, you know, because I wanted to impress them that that I had done all this work, um, but a client list can also be a strategic choice to write, like maybe you want you want more work in gaming or or fashion or something like that, and so, you know, you're going to put those clients up at the top of the list. You're not going to show everything you're going to really think about. Um, this proposal is in a room of people who are just decision makers. Maybe you only have one advocate that's your main contact that bright brought you your name up to, like, perform this service on dh like what would be helpful to make the case right when when these decision makers are making this decision without you what do you want them to know about you? Do you want him to know you did a lot of things you want him to know that you specialize in certain things that are relevant to their things the team so you know a short bio about who you are I think a photo is nice I think photos on resumes air weird but and it depends on who you are I think photos are fine and can be good but isn't always good which is not very clear thing to say but but what I mean when I say that is you're going to have to feel it out you know, like if it's a small independent business owner that that you know maybe their brand like a kid's clothing brand and they have like a friendly and open and kind of informal vibe maybe you want to do that if you're submitting you know to dio I don't know work for financial services client maybe it's not cool um and again we talked about the team and the about the company's statement for if it's just an individual you might merge these into one thing but this is about the company's statement and you know we talk that this was a small agency that I had new york and you know it's who we are what we believe in in our approach and our areas of expertise and it's just this clarifying information that's going to go with this proposal so if in this room of people that are like, I don't know, should we hire them, you never know, and then they flipped here client page, and they're like, oh, cool like, you know, they did work for, um, you know, for electronic arts like, I really respect that company or I love the games that they make or something that helps help you in the work, okay? Terms, this is where it gets kind of intense, you guys ready? So the terms are all of the legal stuff that is, that defines how, um, one business works with another business and as an individual, you are a business, right? So you have to think about yourself like a business, even if you're working for yourself, your business and this is the part where you get teo write down all kinds of, like, really specific things it's kind of like a pre nup for something in here relationship, and we go back to that back to the idea, but you get to say, like I'm available, you know, from nine a m to six p m via skype, you know, you can say I want to be paid twenty five percent up front and the payment schedule that that I want you to adhere to is you know, the remaining twenty five percent every you know, three weeks or when I complete these phases like you're actually defining how the business part of this relationship is going to go also exclusions things that that that are not something for you to pay for I think a common exclusions thing particularly in print is is oh like are you going to pay for cops and color copying and proofs and you know, large pronounce that you present to the client and you know any of those things that are part of how you present the work who pays for that right and that stuff can be expensive you know, a large print out could be you know, a lot of money and you can say like in in your exclusions you're hiring me but you're not I'm not a service bureau for you and you actually have to pay to create all of these things that I'm going to present to you um so this is an example of terms and conditions and this is I think it's david airy and doesn't you guys are a logo design love ah it's a book anyway he's got a book and you know yeah, so he's got a book and he's got a block and he he gives a lot of information out to students and this is some of the terms and the u oarlos down there which is like super small but if you look up the logo design love you'll find him um he gives these terms publicly um and he says that he's written them after ten years of running his own business right? So he's talking about he's pretty strict like delayed payment if you don't pay me according to the pace schedule I'm going to charge you a percentage I'm going to charge you more money then I told you I was going to charge you because you missed you missed the payment schedule that we agreed to in this contract which is something I would never think about like I'm so happy to just keep it because I don't know sometimes I um I'm just so happy to like do the work and make a cool thing that I forget that like I have rights and I'm a business and and and that there's like a baseline of how I want to be treated and boundaries that I can create to protect myself so I love this he charges like five percent if the payment is late he also talks about he requests a fifty percent down payment so half up front which is not uncommon um and uh the other thing he hasn't here's cancellation eso cancellation is really interesting so like we're going to enter into this relationship we're gonna work on this project if if this project kind of atrophies like you lose focus on it client you still owe me money and I own all the intellectual property that was created right? So I'm starting to make something right I'm starting to make your website and all of a sudden you guys lose focus you like you care more about making a food truck than you could then you care about the website and you've hired me and you've engaged my time, right? So in the cancellation you don't own the ideas about the web site that I was making for you I own the ideas so I know it seems silly to go back to this marriage thing, but it's like I'm keeping the ring is basically what that is right it's like I'm keeping this this thing that I made that I created, you know, at the beginning of our relationship our during the course of our relationship um so this is the ah ah standard form agreement for design services do you are you guys familiar with the idea? So the fda is formerly known as the american institute of graphic artists and I think they now art I think they now I just want to be called a idea because they really represent designed more comprehensively and they have a free, uh, contract essentially so agreement online and it is massively comprehensive totally amazing it's a walk through of of how you would use this document with your client it's all like legal terms it talks about all different kinds of terms that you might want to set and encourages you to think through what those terms are for that are right for your business it even has writers or additional contracts are service agreements for interactive projects for print projects another one about who owns intellectual property and you can copy and paste it on dh it's it's totally great and I assume you guys have at least baseline interested in writing proposals so because you're here but but I would encourage you to read the guide just read it once because I think that's one of the other things about establishing your own business is that there's a lot that you don't know there's a lot that you don't know that you can that you can claim ownership of for yourself if you just, uh pursue the information. You know, I when in some of my previous work we would hire you know, like senior design leaders and I would get to read their contracts and they had all kinds of things in their contracts that that I would just never never think of that I could negotiate from myself and it was very instructive and I think if you're if you're already freelancing and or thinking about starting your own business this is not only a practical thing that you could use because you need to do it anyway, but something that explains to you the business side of your business, and I think it would open up ideas and kind of get you guys to think more. Um, so this is an authorization form and it's in the optional section because, um, you are either going to create your own terms, right? You're going toe, like really do your research and you're going to be like, I'm not right is myself, I care this much about my business, you're going to copy and paste the g eight terms and adopt them. You're going to look at david areas terms, and you're going teo, you know, use his something like that. If you use the document, it comes with a signatures page, but if you're crafting your own terms, you need to put a signature page, and so this is an example of that. Um, so a proposal is not always a contract, um, and I think we've kind of covered that in the terms part of it, but I just want tio make it really clear to you guys that if you do a basic proposal with next steps, no one has hired you yet. You don't get any money for that? Yeah that's not that's not the formal business relationship yet it feels like it because it's so much work to make it it's like I told you everything but that's not that's, not it what is it is is the proposal part that you wrote emerged with the terms and conditions so the idea design services agreement or merged with what what's likely that you worked with before which was probably a master services agreement an s o w that was that was on the company's paperwork and your proposal which in your case was just a few lines about what you're going to do that was your proposal and it got merged into the larger legal document which is the contract um so I was I want to make sure that that super clear so we originally talked about the basic proposal which has the title page the opportunity, the approach, the timeline, the fees, right? And then the next steps that was so I was kind of the light basic version. If it's a full proposal which potentially is a binding contract, you're not going to do the next steps right? Because the next steps was like a client this is what you need to dio um how are we going to do a contract like, you know we're are we still negotiating um instead, for the for the full proposal, you're going to have the terms and conditions and you're going to write those for yourself. You're going to research online, you're going to borrow. The edgy is whatever, whatever that kind of this, um, and then you're gonna have the signature page, which they edge. A one has a signature page or you're going to make your own. Um, and the last thing is the additional components. So that's, where the bio goes and about the team and all the sort of like, hey, in case you forgot who we are, this is who we are. It goes after the terms and conditions in the signature page because you want to keep the person or your client in, like in the business part of it. This is what I'm going to do. This is how much can the cost? These are my terms ready to sign, okay, and like, in case you want other stuff s o the option. Additional components are kind of the nice tohave part.