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2.1 How to Choose a Suitable Proposal Template

It’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed when browsing for a proposal template. In this lesson, we’ll look at how you can find a template that best suits your requirements. This can initially mean sacrificing style for structure, but don’t worry; there will be plenty of opportunities for injecting style back into your template a bit later.

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2.1 How to Choose a Suitable Proposal Template

If you've ever looked longingly at a beautifully designed proposal, the chances are it's been adapted from an existing template. There's no shame in using an InDesign template to create your proposal document. In fact, it's a tried and tested method used by professional designers when they want to save a bit of time. Using a template also doesn't mean you have to be limited creatively. You should see a template as a handy foundation for creating your own unique design. The fiddly, time consuming aspects of creating a proposal from scratch, such as formatting master pages and tables of contents, that's already been done for you. So you can spend more time on experimenting with the aesthetics of the design, such as editing color palettes and fonts. In this lesson, I'm going to show you where you can track down templates and how you can filter through the wide range of templates on offer to find something that's going to fit the bill. So where to start? You're going to want a site that offers a wide range of quality templates with plenty of variety. Envato Elements is a really great option for proposals, as it has a really wide range of professionally designed templates. So let's head over to Elements and take a look what's on offer. So here we are on the main site. Just type proposal into the search bar, and then click on Graphic Templates. So you've got a whopping 517 templates to choose from. So how do you choose the right one for you? So you might have an idea about the sort of aesthetic style that would suit your business. Maybe it's more corporate, so something like this CorpoBiz template would be a good visual fit. Or maybe you want something that would better suit a creative business or a startup, in which case this creative proposal might be a better fit, style-wise. My top tip for you when looking for a template is actually to try to dismiss the visual style of the template because this is the easiest element that can be changed. A corporate template style, for example, can be instantly made a bit funkier with a brighter color choice or a more interesting font style. Instead, you really want to make sure that the template has the structure in place that's going to make your job of editing it much easier. So let's take a look at an example of a template that has a really good structure to show you just what I mean. This proposal template has a pretty unassuming look. Sure it's nice and stylish and modern, but its main advantage is that it's got such good bones and structure. So it comes in two page sizes, A4 and US Letter, which makes it flexible for either American or European companies. It's also really lengthy, with 24 pages that you can easily cut down if you need to. Let's take a look at the preview images. Okay, so it's got a simple grid-based cover layout, which could be easily tweaked to make it look a bit more exciting. It has a table of contents, which has an attractive simple layout. It has running headers and page numbers across each page. Elegantly designed headers and subtitles of lots of white space. Things like icons and photos can be easily swapped, so there's no need to dwell on that, though the icons could be a nice touch. All in all, you've got a wide range of varied page layouts, some more text-heavy, others with more dominant images. Which is going to give you plenty of flexibility in the way that you can work. A project timeline page that is compelling with a slight infographic look to it is really handy. You've also got tables set up on the budget page which again saves you a job. All in all, it's got a nice mix of stylish pages that will sell your proposal. As well as more formal pages that contain tables and text, which can be particularly time consuming to create from scratch. This is the template we're going to download and adapt over the course of the next few lessons. But when you come to pick your own templates in future, you want to look for a good structure to the design, plenty of page layouts to work with. And some of the more fiddly elements like tables and running headers already set up for you. In terms of style, a clean, simple look is always easier to adapt to make more interesting than working backwards from something overly fancy. So you can find the link to this template in the resources list attached to the course. What I'd like you to do is download this particular template from Envato Elements. And in the next lesson, we'll open it up in InDesign and take a look at what we've got.

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