Are you using graphics in your bid writing?

7th March 2018

One of the main benefits of using graphics in your bid writing is that it can help you to express very complex solutions and ideas quickly and easily. As bid writers we usually have a tight restriction on word and page counts in our tenders. One way to get around this restriction is the careful use of graphics.

 We all know that people take in information in different ways and many of us are very receptive to colour, shape and form. This means that we are drawn to images and pictures. It also provides a very welcome relief to the reader – large blocks of text can be hard work to read. Experienced bid writers know that good graphics must be easy to understand, and they must serve a function and tell their own story.  Gratuitous graphics in a tender just waste space and annoy the reader.

Tips on using graphics in your bid writing

Here are some rules for using graphics in a Bid or Tender:

  1. Introduce the graphic to the reader first. Some introductory text must always accompany a graphic explaining what the graphic is showing. Don’t leave it to the reader to assume what the graphic is all about.
  2. Arrange graphics on the page to break up the text and make the page easier to read. There is nothing more off-putting for a reader than a whole page of dense text to read.
  3. A graphic should earn its place in the bid and add to the story. Try to relate each graphic to a benefit – this doesn’t always work, but it is good practise to try. Also add a caption which contains the main point you are trying to convey.
  4. If you are creating the graphic, then try and use a colour scheme that blends with the bid – this should reflect either your corporate colours (in the case of free-format bid) or your prospects corporate colours (in the case of a prescriptive bid). There is a school of thought that by mirroring your prospects colour scheme, that they will feel more comfortable and at home reading your bid.
  5. The image or graphic should be simple enough to understand right away. If what you are trying to convey is more complex, then try creating a ‘birds eye’ graphic then drilling down to the detail either with text or further graphics.
  6. Make sure your graphic looks professional – so no more clip art!  If you are unable to create a professional looking graphic, then we can recommend several graphic designers who can work with you to create your graphics – and it need not be too expensive. Just get in touch if you need help with this.
  7. Graphics can be flow charts, pie diagrams, tables, photos or a mixture. Ring the changes to keep your readers interested.
  8. Above all make sure that your graphic is up-to-date and customised for the bid you are writing. Also make sure that the spelling is consistent with the bid document. I once worked on a bid where the text was in British English and all the graphics were in American English because that is where the graphics were created. This was guaranteed to give mixed messages!

 I’ll do another post shortly on how to create good graphics and what tools I favour. In the mean time make sure your bid writing is interesting to your readers by adding graphics.

Alison Reeves

My clients win more Bids, Tenders and Proposals.  Don't forget - you only get one chance to make a first impression.  Most business is lost through poor communication, not through the products or services you offer. Bid Writing, Bid Writing Training Courses, Case Studies, Reviewing Editing and Proofreading, Tender Proof your Business, Build a Better Bid Library, General Business Writing Training.

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