Tender Document – Modern Issues

Tender Documents

Standardised or Bespoke

Standardised documents may seem like the most natural way forward when submitting a bid or business proposal. In some cases offering a standard template may not be as appealing. When it comes to bidding and tender presentations, I think that clients expect something that will speak to them.


I am not talking here about accurately answering the questions. Everyone knows that the right answers are the key in order to qualify to the next stage. What I am referring to are aesthetics and structure. When putting together tenders, we should think strategically, like reading a newspaper or magazine. Everything should be thought out; every question or column has its place. Sometimes there are strict structured guidelines that you can do nothing about, but in most cases, you do get flexibility.

What do you look at first?

It may seem silly but ask yourself:

Will my pages have images, infographics, icons or just text? What will catch my eye most, and what will my brain choose to view?

My answer is: the digestible information that is visualised or shown in a short informative manner will be viewed first. I am in no doubt that clients go straight to the price page and look at costs first and foremost as this is undeniably the focal point, so why not make it look great and easy to read? Secondly, a client will look at the technicalities, i.e. programmes, time savers, engineering. We all like to save money, so show some innovative solutions that will bring some return on investment. Thirdly, everything else that is still important but does not have to be on the first page.


One issue that we are continually battling with is once the document is complete, very few read it from start to finish. It’s a significant flaw as when you are busy running your projects, you will find yourself with little time left to proofread a new proposal. Time is money, so spend it well and give it to someone who can proofread the final version and make amends.

Structure; the information, the presentation, it all counts. When a bid is 200 pages + appendices, and your client needs to read it all. It takes time to create such a beast so programme enough resources. Allow extra time so you can create a winning bid.

Can design solve this problem?

Design can certainly help to solve some issues mentioned above, where the structure of the document can come to life, and the material can demonstrate a vision of the project.

Therefore, getting some help from a graphic designer would add the most value. We specialise in a bid and tender documents within the construction industry and advise companies on do’s and don’ts. It doesn’t mean our word is the ‘law’, but we do know how to turn your client’s eye and give your bid a higher winning chance.

We have a few tricks that can turn your bid into something that will be noticed, not only from a design perspective but also from a user perspective.


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