Approaching Bid Design
How to Prepare a Proposal
When looking at how to prepare a proposal there are a few important elements that you should always consider.
Firstly, and I cannot stress how important this point is – READ THE BRIEF!
The brief allows you to see what the buyer is looking for, so fully reading and understanding their specifications is key to a successful bid. Some proposal requirements will be very strict, for example, they may want you to submit your documents in a specific font or font size, or for your answers to fit on a specific number of pages, so it is important to have this information before you start designing.
As part of your preparations, go through the brief with a fine-toothed comb and make all the relevant design notes that the brief needs you to consider.
You can find more information on differing proposal instruction in one of Dan’s lessons by clicking here.
Secondly, we have the content
Yes, this is a design lesson, but any proposal designs should be used to enhance the application, not distract from the content. The content is the core. The document can be as visually impressive as you want but if the content in your submission isn’t up to scratch then you will not even make it past the first stage. Therefore, it is key to prepare the content to the best of your ability before you even consider what the submission will look like.
The third element to consider is the style
We’re now in the meat of design. Your proposal design should be simple but effective. Remember the design is to support the content, not replace it. Don’t over-complicate the pages, making it difficult for the buyer to follow, keep it sleek, clean and uncomplicated. Don’t be afraid of white space, embrace it – it lets your content breath.
The fourth and last element to consider when looking at how to prepare a proposal is the font
Look at your brand’s font and ask yourself; is this font clear and easy to read in bulk text? If the answer to this question is no then consider adding a supporting font to your visual identity. If the buyer cannot read your content then you have created an unnecessary barrier to your success. Use your main brand font for the headings and titles then choose a clean and easy to read typeface for the majority of your content.
To recap on the elements to consider when looking at how to prepare a proposal:
1 – Read the Brief
2 – Remember your design is meant to enhance your content, not distract from it
3 – Keep your style clean and simple
4 – Don’t use an overly complicated font just because it’s the typeface in your logo.