More Than Words Can Say
There is no requirement that a proposal must look like a boring textbook. Most proposals can meet format requirements and be designed to not only inform and persuade, but to engage the reader.
Here are a few elements of visual language that will help you deliver a proposal with impact that does more than look good, it can help make the proposal easier to read and understand. Done well it can also hold your reader's interest and showcase your most salient points. Done extremely well it can help you stand out and create a very positive first impression with your audience.
- Typography includes font styles, font weights, font size, and font color. Mixing-up these elements provides hierarchy and spatial interest.
- Color is a very strong element of visual communication. It can be used to bring contrast, focus and energy to a page.
- Image categories including timelines, graphs, charts, diagrams. Each can be used to great effect in organizing dense data into an easy to digest format. The proliferation of infographics is an example of how images can be used to visually map processes, data, and connections.
- White space referred to as negative space, is the empty space in a page. So when you think about margins, header, footer, menus, images and captions, items in a list, words and letters, play with how you can leave more space between them. The goal is to allow your reader’s eyes to relax and her mind to focus.
Most of us do judge a book by its cover. It’s how our mind is wired. So think about the attributes of your proposal cover (e.g., quality, texture, color) and decide if it will stand out in a stack of 10-30 proposals? It should. You want the people who are your audience to actually want to pick out your proposal from the stack first. And then you want them to be impressed by both the thoughtfulness of the content and how that content is presented. It’s the “Tiffany Box” effect—memorable.
THE RFP: WINNING THE BIG ONE
A Five-Part Series
# 1. Evaluation—Play To Win Or Pass
# 2. Proposal—A Look @ The Overlooked
# 3. Value Delivered—The Secret Sauce
# 4. Design Elements—More Than Words Can Say
# 5. In-Person Interview—Bring Your A-Game