How to Design an Effective Proposal

May 1, 2015

Mel Lester, The Business Edge

When I first started writing proposals back in the mid-1980s, adding a few graphics was a fairly radical concept. There seemed to be a widespread expectation that technical service proposals must be staid and boring – nothing but the facts, ma'am. Now, attractive layouts, color, and ample graphics are common features in our proposals.

But the proposals I've reviewed in recent years still lack effective design for the most part. While they are generally appealing to look at, they fail to meet the most important document design criterion – function.

Effective design goes beyond pretty; it facilitates better communication. Let me suggest a few design tips that will distinguish your proposals, not just in terms of their visual impact, but also in their ability to clearly convey your message(s) to your prospects.

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