How to Use Graphics in a Business Proposal

Masooma Memon

Written by:
Masooma Memon

business proposal - header

Does your business proposal bore you? 

Chances are you’ve created one proposal after the other and your eyes are plain tired – looking at the text and your offer.

Or, you’ve only just started drafting your business proposal and nothing looks ultra-attractive to you. Either way, you’re left with a boring document that you 100% want the receiver to sign.

But here’s an important question to ask yourself: will your reader find your work proposal interesting if you don’t find it interesting yourself?

The answer probably lies somewhere on the scale of "no way" to "less likely." And the solution, you ask? Visually appealing graphics in your business proposal.

Compelling graphics in your document can quickly take it from zero to hero – communicating your message effectively and encouraging the reader to read. In the long haul: great visuals that amplify your message increase your odds of success.

So how do you go about doing that?

Let’s start from scratch. We’ll cover how graphics can help your business proposal, which graphics you need to include, and where to add them. For good measure, I’ve thrown in some best practices for you to follow too.

On we go.


Why Does Your Business Proposal Need Graphics?

Graphics are visual aids for your document. These come in a pool of shapes and sizes including icons, charts, graphs, and so on.

Not to mention, these graphics can be static or animated.

Their role in your business proposal boils down to the following:

  • Make your document less daunting to consume by making it easy and attractive to read
  • Convey your message instantly – one look and the prospect "gets" what you’re saying
  • Clarify difficult concepts about your solution and make information more digestible

Let’s look at an example. Say you’re working on a proposal for interested prospects. With well-constructed graphics that are based on a theme of learning – say a pen animation on the cover or a classroom illustration – you can instantly relay your message. 

The graphics you’ll be adding throughout your business proposal will also be pushing the reader to continue reading till the end by saving them from getting stuck in blocks of text.

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How to Use Graphics in a Business Proposal

Now that you know how important graphics are to your proposal, let’s move on to discussing how you can use them.

Here are a few ways that graphics can add to your business proposal, increasing the chances that your prospect gives you the green light to move forward.

Explain your idea or point, for instance your workflow with a flowchart.

You’ve got to tell your prospect how the work will unfold so he knows what to expect from you. Do you think paragraphs after paragraphs will work? Mind you, your reader wouldn’t even read those heavy text blocks – too much work = ignore!

But if you present your workflow like this, things change for good:

business proposal - explain your idea or point

Customize this proposal template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Show your product or service in action.

Again, the idea is to explain to the prospect how your product or service can help him in the least possible time, with the least possible effort. 

Showing your product/service in use is a secret way of skillfully narrating how valuable your business can be for your prospect’s business.

business proposal - show your product in action
Customize this proposal template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Provide a timeline.

Like workflows, timelines help clear expectations. This is particularly true in projects that take long. One of the most common mistakes that lots of people make when drafting their business proposal is missing out on sharing how long the work will take.

But don’t risk trying to convey your timeline in a wordy manner – it’ll go ignored. Neglecting this simple yet effective visual version of your timeline would be tough though:

business proposal - provide a timeline
Customize this proposal template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Make pricing and other complex sections easy to understand.

Most readers jump straight to the pricing section after reading the intro. You know what this means, right? You’ve got to make it understandable at a glance. Confuse your prospect here and you’d hear nothing but crickets from their side – no affirmation or applause. 

Graphics in your pricing section or any other complex section (like terms and conditions, for example) can help simplify things for you and your client to-be.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

business proposal - make complex sections easy to understand

Customize this proposal template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Share social proof in a visually appealing design.

Did you know that 88% of folks trust reviews like they trust personal recommendations?

But here’s the thing: I always find it hard to read through social proof that looks like a pile of mess. Like me, most people wouldn’t read the praise you desperately want them to if you don’t present it to them in an appealing, clutter-free manner.

For instance, your reader will find it super easy to read these two testimonials (given below).

But it’s safe to assume that lots of people wouldn’t have read them had they been simply pasted into your business proposal without the images, quotation icons, and contrasting design background.

business proposal - share social proof
Customize this proposal template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Rule of Thumb Before Adding Graphics

Before moving on with the types of graphics you need to use, let’s get two very simple rules of adding graphics out of the way. 

Keep these in mind as you plan each proposal or work on a standard business proposal template for the majority of your interested clients.

Only add graphics to supplement your message.

Adding graphics for the sake of it is taking the potential of visual design by its neck and drowning it into a pile of I-never-understood-your-power.

You’d be surprised to know that when text is paired with visuals, it is 323% more likely to encourage viewers to follow instructions provided than when text is at work only. See? That’s how powerful good graphics can be. 

But don’t overdo it with flowery graphics. Remember: white space is your friend. 

Make sure your graphics are consistent.

This means your design needs to have the same elements including a uniform color scheme from the landing page for your service to finalizing your business proposal. This will help your visitors get familiar with your branding, leaving a crisp and memorable impression.


6 Types of Graphics to Add to Your Proposal

Ready to get started now? Play with these six types of graphics in your bid. They're easy to incorporate when using a proposal software to create your proposal.

1. Charts and Graphs

Numbers can be heavy to digest – they’re the main course to any meal. To make sure they’re digestible, visualize the data.

business proposal - add charts and graphs

Customize this proposal template and make it your own!Edit and Download

2. Illustrations

These are wonderful when it comes to explaining something. So you can use them to depict your workflow, brand personality, and a lot more.

3. Images

You’ve probably already heard, “a picture is worth a thousand words” so I don’t need to add more to why you need a picture or how impactful or moving it can be.

The good news is you can use a picture on the front, for instance, on your cover page, or go on and get creative by slipping it into the background like here:

business proposal - add images

Customize this proposal template and make it your own!Edit and Download

4. Tables

Tables are another graphic element that are quick to explain things at a glance. Particularly if you’re comparing two things, like two of your services or giving a preview of your budget. 

Here’s a good inspiration for what we’re talking about:

business proposal - add tables

Customize this proposal template and make it your own!Edit and Download

5. Infographics

These are all the rage these days. Makes sense though – infographics are masters at summarizing information in a stunning layout. No wonder, people are 30 times more likely to read an infographic than a text-based page.

Besides, you have a variety of infographics you can try in your proposals. It could be a timeline-based infographic, a comparative one, even a map-like infographic.

Plus with Visme's infographic template library, you’d never run out of ideas for infographics. Not to forget, you can quickly DIY your graphics.

6. Icons

I like to think of these as small but mighty design elements that add personality to your design. Look at how simple these icons are, but they’ve added a lot of clarity to the content.

business proposal - add icons

Customize this proposal template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Best Practices for Adding Graphics to Your Business Proposal

Okay so you’re aware you need graphics in your proposal game plan and you also know which ones you’ll need. You’re aware of some basics before you get to work. What else? 

Some best practices that’ll help you score high on your design work.

First thing first, always prioritize quality.

High quality images are known for driving home conversions. In other words, they show you off as professional and lead people to decide in your favor.

Stick with a clear and legible font, no matter how nice others look.

Your viewer is likely to ditch your design if they really have to work to understand it. By working with readable fonts and clear font pairings, you’re making things easier for them, encouraging them to stay on your document.

Use different shapes and colors so you can inspire action.

Study the psychology behind the different shapes and colors to help with this one. For instance, curvy shapes like circles are linked with life and health. Angular or sharp shapes, on the other, are associated with danger and incite fear.

decorate your designs with geometric shapes with visme

Similarly, the color bright yellow catches attention and blue gains trust (that’s why most apps are a shade of blue like Facebook and Twitter). So you need to dive first into the psychology behind shapes and colors before you call the design shots.


Create Your Own Eye-Catching Business Proposal

Graphics don’t just make your business proposal pretty. They clarify your message and make your document reader-friendly.

Try any type from infographics to tables to bar charts. But make sure you use them consistently and cleverly. After all, the right color can set your recipient’s mood.


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About the Author

Masooma Memon is a pizza-loving freelance writer by day and a novel nerd by night. She crafts research-backed, actionable blog posts for SaaS and marketing brands who aim to employ quality content to educate and engage with their audience.

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