The Development Source

Dress Up your Grant Proposal Graphics!

Graphics serve a critically important function in grant proposals.  They help convey important information and themes that promote clarity, understanding, and persuasion. 

Consequently, it is important that (1) you use graphics like you use words – to convey what you want reviewers to know and remember; and (2) you use effective graphics.  The more effective your graphics, the more persuasive will be your grant proposals.

Ms. Colleen Jolly is a principal in the 24 Hour Company, which designs and produces proposal graphics in theUnited StatesandEngland.  She also is a very talented graphics designer for proposals.  She recommends that your proposal graphics follow these principles of informational design:

  • Simplify your graphics so that there is one clear message.
  • Use the colors and imagery your customer prefers.  Visit their Web site for information.
  • Develop a style template for your graphics so that they are consistent and have a professional look.
  • Use white space to break up or highlight information.
  • Engage your audience my using positive emotional reactions rather than just statistics and facts.

I would add these three recommendations:

  • Integrate your graphics with your text so that they convey the same message and reinforce each other.
  • Use action captions for your graphics to tell the reader what you want them to know and remember.
  • Design your graphics to tell a great story about your organization.  Keep in mind that your reviewers may be visual learners. Your graphics may be more important to them than your text.

Below are sites that Ms. Jolly recommends to get stock photography and images that you can use.  They also will give you plenty of ideas about designing your own graphics. (photographs and symbols/icons) (photographs and symbols/icons) (proposal presentation graphics) (fonts)

Use clear, informative graphics to make your points, and you will create more compelling and persuasive grant proposals.


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