[thelist] How do I build a proposal for a website?

Janet Green JGreen at desmoinesmetro.com
Thu Aug 7 11:42:25 CDT 2003

>>>If everybody is happy doing creative work for nothing in the hope of being thrown a scrap of work every now and again, it really does devalue the profession we're in. <<<

Yep, I agree, a policy against speculative creative is in the better interest of the designer, especially if they don't *need* the project in question to keep their business afloat, and I'm absolutely adament that advance planning is critical to every project BEFORE the real design work begins. 

But it's important to note that ad agencies compete for business in this way all the time, as do designers and (probably) creative professionals of every stripe. If a company is looking for a new ad agency, the agencies who want the job do some speculative creative in order to land the job. When my organization needed a creative agency to help with identity materials for a fund-raising campaign, several agencies submitted proposals - including spec creative - and we picked one. It's the way the creative services industry works (which I think is a more targeted analogy than the restaurant industry), and the challenge is to find the balance between landing the job and making premature commitments to specific design schemes and ideas.  

If the project in question were truly a "scrap of work," I'd say absolutely don't waste your time offering speculative design suggestions. But since this appears to be an opportunity to build a complete site from scratch, I wouldn't call that a scrap and I'd say there's more value in finding a way to give the client what they expect to see in the proposal *as well as* educate them about the planning process and the value (or lack thereof) of gratuitous "special effects." That doesn't mean, obviously, designing the whole site before getting the job. I think it's possible to find the appropriate balance without devaluing the web design profession. 


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