Don’t make this mistake with your government proposal graphics
There are a lot of misunderstandings about graphics in proposals, especially government proposals. Infographics and data visualization have grown hugely popular in the past decade, a trend that has worked its way into the contracting and proposal space too. It has become “common knowledge” that graphics are the key to a win and that more graphics are always better. However….
You do not need a graphic on every page. Repeat: you do not need a graphic on every page.
It’s true that you don’t want pages and pages of text upon text. You don’t want your reader to be confused and overwhelmed, but you don’t want them to be bored either. A well-placed graphic performs multiple roles: displaying information in an easy-to-understand form, highlighting key content, visually reinforcing your brand, and making your proposal more professional, interesting, and aesthetically pleasing.
Graphics for the sake of graphics will work against the very thing you are aiming for: clarity. Every image in your proposal should clarify what’s said in the text and fundamentally support your win theme. A good graphic will allow the reader to quickly grasp a concept and gain a better understanding. A bad graphic will confuse the reader and distract from your narrative. The bottom line is that a visual should never raise more questions than it answers.
When long stretches of text become visually displeasing, but none of the content lends itself well to visualization, don’t try to force information into a graphic or resort to inserting a semi-related photo. There are other options! A well-placed call out box, pull quote, or other design element can come in handy, breaking up the text and giving the reader’s eye a break.
Remember that in the end, what your proposal is doing is telling a story. Graphics should always work hand in hand with the text, each complementing the other and ultimately strengthening your narrative.