Design proposals, client and design brief, profitable pricing in design

Design proposals are usually to be developed on the already made design strategy. It is important to note that design proposals do not deliver a fully working solution. But many clients expect that kind of service. So maybe design consultancies should rather be named magicians. A proposal “merely provides an outline of how a design team or consultancy would address the needs of the organisation should they be successfully engaged to work on a project.” (K. Best: Design Management).

The client or actually client representative is or should be responsible for writing the client or project brief. It should contain at least:

  • what their organisation would like to achieve
  • identified market opportunities
  • budget estimation
  • time plan and key deadlines.

Project brief is to be open open for a dialogue about client expectations and possibilities that design consultancy has to meet these expectations.

After receiving the client/project brief next is or should be composing the design brief. “The design brief is the creative response to the client brief, and reflects the knowledge, skills and experience if the design team as well as the strategic objectives and business viability of the project.” (K. Best: Design Management).

A design brief is a team accomplishment, where not only designers, creatives, and managers from the design consultancy but also client representatives and other specialists depending on the nature of the project take part.

And how to set the price? Let’s assume the project needs only a single design team member. This member has 5.000,00 € gross monthly salary. If a single member has to cover 7.000,00 of monthly overheads that means 12*5.000,00 € plus 12*7.000,00 €, that means 144.000,00 of yearly cost. Let’s assume that he works 1.500 hours per year. Hourly billable rate for that team member should therefore be 96,00 €. Extra projects (material) costs not included in price.

So, the price is suppose to cover “costs, overheads, and expenses involved in running a design business, while also allowing for a portion of the profits to be invested back into the business.” (K. Best: Design Management). In our small case, we probably didn’t include all the expenses in running the design business.

Source: Best, Kathryn: Design Management.

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