Did you know our brains process visual information up to 60,000 time better than entire blocks of text? In fact, 90% of the information sent to the brain is visual. This is why it’s so important to include compelling and informative graphics throughout your proposal.
Don’t get too hasty, winning proposals don’t succeed because they have stunning templates and fabulous photos. Winning proposals outline solutions and proven experience through written content. Successfully using the combination of written content and proposal graphics can be tricky, so we’ve come up with a few tips and tricks about how, when and why to use graphics.
Why use Proposal Graphics?
Graphics help you stand out among competitor proposals. They demonstrate that you are committed to providing quality work and that you place importance on working with the future client. Graphics show that you allocated time, thought and money into developing compelling visual representation. The quality of your graphics subconsciously communicates the professionalism of your company.
A trick of the trade is using graphics to summarize or condense large text sections to limit space, especially when complying with page requirements.
When to Use Proposal Graphics
Graphics should not be space-fillers, rather have them serve a purpose to enhance the proposal. Be strategic about their placement and content. Graphics are a great use of space if you follow these guidelines.
Infographics: These support complex content and help readers “walk-through” tough concepts by outlining them in a graphic.
Visual Aids: Demonstrate a product or service. For example, step-by-step instructions are easier to follow when supplemented with graphics/images.
Tables, Graphs or Charts: Illustrate data. If data can be aligned, DO IT!
Organizational: Display proposed teams and management structures in a chart.
Flowcharts: Flowcharts can help visually demonstrate how your company’s proposed processes will occur.
Theme/Value Points: Highlight win themes and your company’s value-added features. This makes the important stuff seen ASAP!
Design and Placement of Proposal Graphics
It is widely recommended to use a minimum of one graphic on every proposal page, or at least one every other page. They can complement and enhance text or replace text in it’s entirety to more easily convey the message. When drafting proposal sections, you should also begin drafting graphic ideas for each section/page.
During the design process of your graphics, be sure to consider page count and flow. Be cognizant of page count restrictions, how text will wrap around the graphic and what text will be pushed to the following page because of the graphic.
Proposal Graphics OR Photos/Images
Different visual content provides different value. Graphics are a great way to represent data, complex information or processes, while, photos are a great way to demonstrate your performance or services in action. The right photos can tell their own story and provide evidence of your company’s capabilities.
With regards to construction proposals, graphics are also a great way to demonstrate processes in technical volumes/factors, while photos or images in your past experience volumes can help evaluators see your actual performance, proof is in the pudding!
Remember to keep your graphics in-sync with your branding colors and themes, this will help with continuity for evaluators. Relevant, well-designed graphics help create a cohesive story and message for winning proposals.
Tips for QC’ing your Graphics
No Pasting: Copying and Pasting graphics in Microsoft Word results in larger file sizes which can cause electronic submission problems. Use Word’s Insert Picture feature for best quality.
Copyedit: When your proposal is going through a copyedit review, be sure not to skip graphics. Consistency between graphics and text are a must!
Final Size: Shrinking large graphics once inserted can result in poor quality or text that is too small to be legible. Create the graphics to be the exact size you want when inserted into the proposal.
Preview Graphics in Black and White: Many proposals are submitted electronically these days, and you never know if a government agency will print in grayscale. During a test print, ensure your graphics look great printed in color or grayscale.