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How to make a visual impact with your proposal

Writing a proposal can be daunting. Oftentimes, a lot hangs in the balance; funding, the need for new staff, or proposing a new system are all reasons you may need to write a proposal. In order for a proposal to be successful, it must be well-written, researched, and presented.

Part of creating a successful proposal includes making a visual impact. Humans are visual creatures by nature; two proposals may be identically written, but chances are the one that has appealing graphics and is presented professionally bound will have a much more favorable impact than one that is stapled together and has no graphics whatsoever.

Graphics and other visual enhancements have a number of other benefits, including:
- Increase understanding. Graphics are usually easier to grasp than words in a paragraph.
- Memory. Your readers will most likely remember images better than concepts explained in the text.
- Highlight important information

Making a visual impact with your proposal can encompass a number of things. It can be as simple as a knowing which words to bold or italicize or as complicated as a multi-colored keyed graphic or chart. Regardless, the following tips will help you to make a visual impact with your proposal:

- Keep things simple. Too much data, too many colors, and too many pictures can overwhelm the reader. Your graphics should be clean and simple and should serve a goal, such as break down figures or illustrate a process, rather than just take up space. You should also avoid using too many colors, shapes, and patterns in your graphics. The most successful graphics are clean and simple.
- Explain, if necessary. If a chart or graph needs further explanation, put it in the text of the proposal and have the reader refer to the graph rather than cluttering the graph's title and heading with all of the information. (For example, your text could explain a concept or amount, and then say "see Figure 1.)
- Don't add visual "clutter." Each graphic, chart, symbol, and so forth should serve some sort of purpose. There should not be symbols or pictures just to have them in there. Doing this will make the proposal look unprofessional or poorly designed.
- Use programs. If you know programs such as Adobe Photoshop or InDesign and Microsoft Power Point, take advantage of them. They can hold larger photo files or graphics than a Word document can.
- Have it bound professionally. This can make a world of difference. A cover and back and binding can be done inexpensively either in-house, if your company has an art department, or at a copy or paper supply store.
- Consider having a professional render your designs. If your proposal is for a bid on a large project or something else of great importance, you may want to consider having it professionally designed. There are many graphic artists who specialize in proposals and can make your proposal look as visually appealing as possible.

Making a visual impact with your proposal is an effective and necessary way for it to be noticed and then implemented. By using appropriate graphics, charts, colors, and fonts and by presenting a proposal that is visually clean and professionally-bound, you will make a better impression on your readers.

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