50+ SAMPLE Design Contract Proposal

What is a Design Contract Proposal?

A design contract proposal is a significant document that presents realistic goals, objectives, and plans along with a legal agreement to accomplish a specific design project. It is typically written by a person who specializes in a particular design field such as architectural design, schematic design, branding design, concept design, engineering design, artwork design, landscape design, instructional design, product design, advertising design, packaging design, fashion design, infographics design, etc.

Based on a statistical study, 71% of companies and corporate groups say that design thinking has improved the working culture at their organizations and 69% say that it makes their innovation processes more efficient. Project leaders and managers need to be more conscious of their current design thinking practice. Doing this is useful when it comes to unfolding the hidden potentials of design thinking while preventing unintended side-effects like discontented teams. Thus, if you are currently developing a certain design project for your work and other business ventures, the first thing you need to do is prepare an effective design contract proposal for your unique design project.

Different Types of Design Contract Proposals

Erik Adigard, Communication and Experience Designer said: “Design is in everything we make, but it’s also between those things. It’s a mix of craft, science, storytelling, propaganda, and philosophy.” You need to consider what type of design contract proposal that you will use for your design work.  However, there are eclectic forms of design around us in various aspects of our lives. Below are different types of design contract proposals:

1. Artwork Design Contract Proposal

Stephen Davies explained in his book Definitions of Art about the functional and procedural approaches to art definition which are two strategies that might be adopted to define art. An artwork performs functions distinctive to art, usually providing a rewarding aesthetic experience for the functionalist. On the other hand, an artwork is created based on specific rules and procedures for the proceduralist. A visual artist or designer working on a particular artwork applies his or her creativity, imagination, rules, formulas and skills, especially novelty. There are a wide-ranging of diverse concepts about art that may stem from a commonly accepted opinion that every artwork and every project should fulfill general principles connected to its design, editing and analysis of presentation. For instance, a good graphic artwork should elevate beauty, complexity, density and dimensionality of communication. As we are living nowadays in a progressing visual world because of the rise of online interactive visuals for learning and various social network platforms for communication, imagination and creativity are integral elements that artists and designers, as well as art and design enthusiasts need to practice in every aspect of their professional specialization and discipline. Also, developing an effective design proposal for a particular artwork is one of the important ways that artists and designers should be skilled in order to get their artwork and design approved by their prospective client. 

2. Architectural Design Contract Proposal

A 2018 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that 20% of architects considered themselves to be self-employed, 69% are working for architectural or engineering services and 6% are working for the government and construction services. Exploring design ideas, searching for innovative and sustainable solutions to problems, establishing buildings that inspire and creating a statement through architecture are compelling elements that propel architects in achieving their creative work. Andrew Pressman stated from his book Designing Architecture: The Elements of Process that much of an architect’s work is telling the story about a building that will make others want to see it built. Design is iterative, having loops of information-gathering, drawing, discussing, thinking, and rethinking until an architectural design work emerges. It is essential that you also create an appealing proposal for your architectural design project so that you may get a thumbs up from your client, and allow them to understand the overall flow of the design process and implementation of the architectural design plan. 

3. Branding Design Contract Proposal

There are various successful brands that consider design thinking a vital part of their culture and way of doing business which include Airbnb, IBM, Google, Samsung, Amazon, Microsoft and many others. Dave Buck, professional coach and CEO of CoachVille, said: “Your brand is a gateway to your true work. You know you are here to do something—to create something or help others in some way. The question is, how can you set up your life and work so that you can do it? The answer lies in your brand. When you create a compelling brand, you attract people who want the promise of your brand—which you deliver.” A brand designer’s role is to transform key brand elements like logo, color, scheme, typography and other design elements into eye-catching visual components in order to make a certain brand stand out from their competitors and enticing to the audience. So, we recommend that you create a compelling proposal for your branding design project. In this way, you can get some prospective clients who want your branding design services. 

4. Interior Design Contract Fee Proposal

Despite the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic to many industries and business sectors, the interior design market has had a growth of roughly 6.75% CAGR every year. This growth is expected to remain steady for the foreseeable future as the CAGR projections from 2020 to 2027 are even higher with an anticipated growth rate of 7.8%. Being a multifaceted profession that aims on achieving a functional, safe and aesthetically pleasing interior environment, interior design is a sophisticated type of design that encompasses everything from a one-room project to an enormous corporate office building. Are you an interior decorator, stylist, hotel designer, art exhibition designer, retail designer or event designer? It is integral that you work with the major elements of interior design. Writing a striking contract fee proposal for your interior design project will help you in further attracting more clients and audience interest.

Basic Components of a Design Contract Proposal 

In this section, you will learn how to craft a proficiently-written design contract proposal so that you are able to gain the interest of the readers of your proposal, especially your prospective clients. However, a proposal has different components. Include the following elements for you to create an impressive document:

Title: One of the common elements of a design contract proposal is the title. It is a strikingline of the documentwhich points out the main topic, or subject of the design contract proposal, as well as to get the interest of the client to read and accept the proposal. It is generally set in a size larger than other remaining text elements in the page.Description of Design Project Goals and Objectives:Describe the design project goals, objectives and desired outcomes that are fundamental in order to accomplish the overall design project. Explain how your design team will fulfill the design project goals and objectives. Executive Summary or Project Overview: This part is the integral section of your design contract proposal.It provides a brief summary of the design methods, and strategies that will be done while making a particular design project. Use some visual representations like moodboards to illustrate the essence and flow of the design process. Another aspect to incorporate in this section is the significance, implications and other contributions of the design project. A Detailed Timeline of Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production Stages of the Design Project: Construct a clear and detailed timeline of your activities, and methods according to their time period of the pre-production, production and post-production stages of your design project. Use some graphs, tables, and other visual diagrams to depict the status and performance of the design project. Accuracy, Conciseness and Precision: Focus on the important details of your design project. Write concisely and precisely with the inclusion of both short words and short sentences. Keep it as brief and specific as possible. Be accurate in your proposal writing. Avoid the use of ambiguous words that are irrelevant to your design contract proposal.

How to Create a Design Contract Proposal 

A survey conducted by Adobe stated that 50% of design-led companies and organizations that are surveyed say that design thinking results in more satisfied and loyal customers and 41% reported greater market share as an advantage of carrying advanced design practices. Aside from setting up an elevator pitch in proposal writing, a design contract proposal can effectively outline what your definite design goal and aspiration is all about. In this matter, we suggest that you follow the simple steps below while freely using one of our free design contract proposal templates in this article:

Step 1: Identify Realistic Goals, and Objectives

Charles Eames said: “The role of designer is that of a good, thoughtful host anticipating the needs of his guests.” This means you need to assess the needs and preferences of your clients by clearly identifying realistic goals and objectives for the design project.  Think deeply about the things you and your client highly prioritize in the design project, as well as the vision in attaining the design project goals and objectives.

Step 2: Develop a Brief Summary of the Design Project

Your design contract proposal should include a brief and concise summary of your design project. Explain your design ideas, and tell an interesting story of the overall design process and production of the project. Take your readers into careful consideration. Then, finish your project summary with reliable information including legitimate references, valid findings, and more.

Step 3: Demonstrate Unique Design Solutions and Methodology

Exchange viewpoints and opinions with your design team about unique design solutions and methodology to solve issues which are correlated to your design project. After that, include these details in your design project proposal. Or if you are just working as a freelance and independent designer, brainstorm and create an initial draft of your concepts and ideas about innovative design solutions for the project.

Step 4: Set the Project Timeline and Budget

Ask your clients about the requirements and their needs and preferences concerning the project. With that information, set an estimate of the financial budget of the design project that you need in order to start the design and execution of the design project.

Step 5: Highlight the Significant Value

After that, highlight the significant valueof your design project and why it is unparalleled to other design projects. Emphasize the part on how your creative work will greatly influence your clients and others while supporting their needs and preferences with the production and realization of your design project.  This is a fundamental aspect for many business firms and organizations as they opt for collaborating with designers who can really impact the people through an enticing design.

Step 6: Prepare the Final Draft

Ready the final draft of your design proposal that provides compelling and meaningful details about your pitch. Attach any supporting documents as well such as a visually-aesthetic design online portfolio. Schedule a meeting with the members of your design agency and/or the prospective client or company who will have your design contract proposal. Then, use some editing and revising tools for efficient proofreading and revision of your document so that you can submit your design proposal properly.


What are the fundamental elements of the design contract proposal?

When preparing your design contract proposal, you should explain your creative solution to solve the issue or assess the needs and preferences of your client. Explain  to the client about the fundamental steps that you will do. Then, include a simple and concise summary that contains the pricing, timeline, deliverables, and terms and conditions of the design project. Add the inclusions and the payment terms and conditions.

What are different types of design projects?

The different types of design projects are schematic design project, graphic design project, website design project, interior design project, architectural design project, engineering design project, artwork design project, landscape design project, instructional design project, UX design project,  advertising design, motion graphic design, packaging graphic design, publication graphic design, and others. 

How long should a design contract proposal be?

A design contract proposal should be just the appropriate length. The most common winning proposal length is ten pages. Keep the main points clear and specific to prevent your document from being too long or complicated. Allow your client to read your proposal easily so that they can understand the essence of your design proposal.

What are some examples of design contract proposals?

Some examples of design contract proposals are design build contract proposal, schematic design contract proposal, graphic design contract proposal, website design contract proposal, interior design contract fee proposal, design branding contract proposal, request for concept design contract proposal, architectural design contract proposal, engineering design services contract proposal, art work design contract proposal, family park design contract proposal, landscape design contract proposal, instructional design contract proposal, product design contract proposal, and many more. 

William McDonough, architect, designer and author, said: “In a very real way, designers create the human environment; they make the things we use, the places we live and work, our modes of communication and mobility. Simply put, design matters.” There are business firms and organizations that integrate design thinking into corporate strategy as they continue to outpace their industry peers by as much as 228% as stated by Fortune. So, writing a clear and striking proposal for your design project is an effective tool to establish a deal with your prospective client and settle an agreement concerning the execution of the design project. We suggest that you follow the aforementioned tips and steps here so that you are able to craft an exceptionally-written design contract proposal. Plus, download our free design contract proposal samples here today including graphic design contract proposal examples, website design contract proposal templates, interior design contract fee proposal templates and more!