Lesson 2: Key Elements of a Well Presented Tender

Branding 

Be confident with your brand. After all, this is who you are, what you are proud of and at the heart of ‘what’ you are trying to sell to the client. Use your logo and your corporate colours to design your template. You can develop different templates for different products or services you deliver. 

Colour 

Use your corporate colour palette consistently and effectively. Use colour to break up sections in your design, define headings, create call-to-actions, or to draw the eye of the reader to any information you feel is key. 

Typography 

Utilise your corporate font consistently throughout your tender document, placing emphasis and clarity on headings and key information. 

Ensure that your body copy font is easy to read with a point size and leading (the space between lines of text) that allows for clarity. 

Finally, lower case text is easier to read for longer blocks of text so STAY AWAY FROM CAPITALISATION. 

Page Layout 

By using a clear and simple page structure in your document design, your information will be more legible and have more impact.  

Proper use of white space, margins and consistent page styling throughout your tender document will allow the reader to engage with each page. 

Contents and page numbering 

Make it easy for the reader. Provide a table of contents, an index if necessary, so they can easily get to the data that is pertinent to them. 

Ensure your page numbering corresponds with the contents and that your page numbers are legible and easy to find.  

Sections 

Break your tender document up into defined sections so you can tell your story. Using sections and headings breaks up the text and makes it easier to read. If your content is placed into manageable ‘chunks’, they are far more likely to be read.  

Images 

If the design of your tender document requires imagery, make sure it is good quality and at a decent resolution for the final submission. 

When printed, a poor quality image at low-resolution will look unprofessional. Also, ensure your company images do not look too dated. 

You can also insert photos with relevant captions that show your capability and reinforce your ‘win themes’ in relation to the client’s contract requirements.   

The Look & Feel of the Document 

Good design appeals to the subconscious emotional side of decision-making. If you ensure that you have an attractive professional design you may have the evaluator on side before they’ve even started reading about your offering.  

Submitting a response that looks like it has been cobbled together will reflect poorly on your organisation. Having it proof-read and edited will give the document its final polish. Investing many man-hours in a response is justification enough to make this extra effort.   

Margins 

Set your page margins, so they fit with your company’s logo and any information you want to include in the footer of the document. There is no point in having a minuscule sized logo that you cannot read, so adjust the margins to suit. 

Have a play with the margins and print of some sample pages to see what works best for your business. In this document, this is my page set up which is pretty standard for my business. 

The Font  

The font you use has a huge bearing on the readability of your document. There are two basic styles of fonts that all typefaces fall within: 

  • Serif fonts are widely used in traditionally printed material such as books and newspapers. These fonts vary in thickness and have strokes that make up letters and symbols on the ends.  
  • Sans serif fonts are used for headlines rather than for body text. A sans serif font does not have the small projecting features called “serifs” at the end of strokes. 

Common serif fonts that can be used for your submission include: 

  • Bookman Antiqua 
  • Times New Roman 
  • Garamond. 

Common sans-serif fonts that can be used: 

  • Arial 
  • Helvetica 
  • Verdana 
  • Gill Sans 
  • Tahoma. 

It is important not to mix the fonts you use. Pick a standard font and use that for all your body text.  

Headings and Heading Styles 

Using Heading Styles will support the setting out of your response. Heading styles are usually a bigger size than your normal font. They are meant to stand out, so can have a border, can be bolded or a be a different colour from your colour pallet. 

Sub headings (such as Heading 2) are usually smaller than Heading 1 and can be indented to define the structure of the document.  

Remember there is no right or wrong, it is the way you want to set up your document. 

Table of Contents  

If the document is over 10 pages in length, it is important to include a Table of Contents. This makes it easier to read and reference the information in your submission.  

Highlighting  

It is also important to highlight specific words or phrases in your document to attract the reader and to place an emphasis on it.  

You can bold them, use a different colour or underline them.  

However, don’t go overboard and highlight every second word or it will lose its importance and effect. 

Example 

Remember, it may not always be appropriate or even allowed to change fonts/formatting in a tender, you need to always be aware of the specifications. 

Dawtek creates effective corporate documentation ranging from policies and procedures to annual reports. Our documentation is designed in accordance with your structures and processes, enabling your business to better deliver its objectives. 

The other option to highlighting is using a call-out box. Make your content stand out with call-out box.  

Call-outs should contain more than just headings, make sure you add some text to your call-out to explain the link. Below is an example of a well-positioned call-out box which uses key words to illustrate its achievements.  

Photos and diagrams 

Photos and diagrams can often break up the flow of text and provide more context than text.  Remember a picture is often be more effective than writing a short summary or description because it provides a rest opportunity for the reader and, if chosen wisely, will be visually appealing. 

If you include photos, make sure you add captions to the photos to explain what they are. 

Provide Visual Cues 

Visual clues are a great way to break up the text and point to the client to pertinent tender information. Some ways to do this are: 

  • Use bold fonts or underlining to highlight main points (but do so sparingly and consistently). 
  • Break-up text with headings. 
  • Use tables, dot-points, graphs, and diagrams to: 
  • Draw the reader’s attention 
  • Breakup your narrative 
  • Explain complex data, processes, structures, relationships and concepts. 

Even though many tenders are submitted online, presentation of your documents is still essential. 

Table and charts 

If you are displaying data as a graph, or in a table, make the data clear and engaging within your design. 

That said, keep it legible and avoid complicated graphing styles that get in the way of the data you are presenting. 

Creating your Tender Template 

Now let’s create your tender template – use my sample Tender Template. 

Activity

Create your tender template 

  • Use your company’s logo and corporate colours to match your brand. 
  • Consult a graphic designer if appropriate to develop a template for you. 
  • I recommend developing it in MS Word, so you can use the information easily for all tender responses – and it is also an industry standard. 
  • Purchase an appropriate business-style folder or have your documents professionally bound.  
  • Alternatively, you can arrange for a cover to be created and have the document bound so it resembles a glossy, brand new book with a professionally designed cover.  

Remember the template isn’t set in stone and can always be changed to reflect the current situation of your business.  This template can form the foundation for other proposals, reports and other business documentation you use as part of your business. 

Activity

Use the Tender Template provided to customise to your business and your brand.  (Download available from the Module 3 downloads lesson.)

The tender template provides you with headings of commonly asked questions and structures to complete the tender questions.