Document Layout and Graphic Design • Proposals can use graphics to be more efficient • pictures, maps, diagrams, etc can communicate information very efficiently (can save words, saving time and effort) • tables, charts, graphs, etc can communicate information very clearly (can save effort) • Graphics and useful design can show professionalism • documents with graphics often look more professional • useful layout & design helps quick scanning and evaluation • sophisticated design can show that lots of effort went into tailoring a proposal to a specific RFP • it CAN show that you think your client’s needs are important
REMEMBER these guidelines: • Pictures are worth a thousand words IF: • every graphic has a precise goal • every graphic has a clear title and context • You need to OVERdefine EVERY picture and graphic ! • Formatting is effective IF: • each formatting choice is clearly useful for the audience • each formatting choice is well executed • Formatting inconsistencies ARE TYPOS !
graphics must haveVERY PRECISE GOALS • EVERY graphic should communicate: • some very specific and very precise information • a very clear feeling or emotion • OR, a combination of BOTH these two things BRAINSTORM: What are some graphics that you could include in the “mowing proposal” document, and what would each accomplish?
graphics must haveCLEAR TITLES and CONTEXTS • “Clear Context” means: • describe what the graphic will accomplish before it appears in the document (intro with a sentence) • make sure the specific graphic goal matches the general goals of the document (pictures of puppies and flowers belong in a proposal based on lowest bid price?) “Clear Title” means: • EVERY graphic has a descriptive title that is clear to the audience (in ADDITION to an intro sentence, etc) • EVERY title is consistent (numbering, wording, and formatting does not vary for no reason)
formatting must be CLEARLY USEFUL FOR THE AUDIENCE • DO NOT make formatting choices based on what YOU think is neat-o. • The layout, design, fonts, margins, section and page breaks, etc should ALL have a clear purpose for the audience. • BRAINSTORM: • What are some formatting choices that could be useful for the “mowing proposal” audience (town gov’t officials)?
formatting must beWELL EXECUTED & PRACTICAL • DO NOT use complicated formatting just because you can. • REALIZE that a $100 binding will only make a bunch of typos EVEN MORE noticeable. • REALIZE that technical documents ARE USED by the audience. This often includes: • photocopying • transcribing • lots of rough handling • distribution to many different people • Make SURE the document can be ripped apart easily (happens often in group evaluation situations) and can survive rough handling and copying.