Clear thinking

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Easy callout graphics

 May 30, 2017
by Paul Heron

Many believers in visualization find they haven’t the time to make it happen. If even the ideas in our earlier post on no-budget proposal visualization seem too time consuming, here's another idea, courtesy of BBC News.

BBC Infographics

BBC News streams infographics on current news stories through social media. The examples above and below appeared on Twitter.

Adding a strong image is a great way to make proposal callouts interesting and memorable. Here's how to adapt the idea to your next proposal.

Adapting BBC’s infographic concept to callouts

In every case, BBC News has combined a striking image with two facts organized into one or two sentences. Do the same by following these steps:

  1. Think of a key benefit or differentiator you want to stress and express it a short sentence. For example:
    • In the past X years, we’ve implemented Y sites on time and on budget
    • Over X% of our service technicians have achieved NAME certification
    • X% of our clients have been with us for Y years or more
    • X of Canada’s Y largest financial institutions use our technology
    • Our X North American sites average Y years with no lost time accidents
    • X of our key individuals have worked together on X or more projects
  2. Find a suitable photograph with a 2:1 width to height ratio. If you don’t have your own, search online for an image that connects to your message and that is licensed for commercial use. You can buy image rights for less than $20 or find a free one using Google advanced image search to filter by size (large) and license type (commercial use allowed). NOTE: The photo is not intended to illustrate a project—only to attract attention.
  3. Size and crop the photo so the area of most interest is in the right half of the picture.
  4. Using Photoshop or a less expensive alternative, such as Acorn or PowerPoint, place a complementary colour block set to 80% opacity over 40% of the image as in the examples above. Centre your message in contrasting text on the block and enlarge the key numbers/words.
  5. Save the image in a graphics format (PDF, PNG, JPG) and you’re ready to drop it into your proposal.

Using this process, our team members have created proposal callouts in less than 20 minutes.

Consider a caption

Even though this kind of graphic carries its own message, you might want to expand on the limited information you can fit into the visual. In this case, add a selling caption that reinforces the image content.


Need help visualizing your strengths in proposals?

Contact Complex2Clear



Photo credit (all)

Paul Heron, MBA, is the founder and managing partner of Complex2Clear, and leads our bid response practice. LinkedIn 





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