Graphics in Proposals: Some Do’s and Don’ts

The use of graphics, photography and other design elements in a proposal represents a common dilemma for many an enterprise, particularly an SME without dedicated production skill in-house.

As an over-arching rule, adhere to these general principles:

  • While it’s appropriate to employ significant use of creative design and graphics / photography in some proposals (especially if they are proactively submitted versus competitive tender submissions, for example), be clear on whether you’re producing an actual proposal or a generalised product/services brochure. There’s a difference.
  • Don’t use design or “coffee table production” tactics to smoke over content that is inadequate in terms of its quality, strategy, or volume. Style does not compensate for a lack of substance.
  • If you can’t find or produce a context-appropriate illustration, either use other design elements on the page, or go without. Also, there are instances when such a problem can be solved with creative and sophisticated use of white space.
  • Don’t let the text on a page or a double-page spread become disjointed with your use of graphics and photos. Your imagery should be there to support your text, not compete with it.
  • If using image library photography, take the time and keep refining your search terms, to help you avoid resorting to kitsch, obviously “stock” photos.
  • NEVER use clip art or ANY version thereof.