Nailing your capability statement design

An essential marketing tool for many companies is the ‘capability statement’. These are often distributed digitally by business development and sales teams, as well as being used as a printed leave-behind following meetings with prospects. Capability statement design is all-important because, in the hierarchy of collateral, this is one document that must leave a professional impression.

You might be surprised to learn that capability statement design is one of our most requested services here at Sketch Corp. In 2018 alone, our boutique marketing & design agency delivered a whopping 45 capability statements for companies here in Brisbane. Now that might not sound like a lot, but it’s close to one per week!

Based on the volume of enquiries we receive and the number of capability statements we deliver, we’ve rounded up some key considerations for you if you’re embarking on a new capability statement design in 2019.

Design with your audience in mind

Given how important your target audience is (potential clients), it’s essential that your capability statement puts your best foot forward. Before we touch on copy (more on that later), let’s talk about capability statement design. The level of skill with which your capability statement is designed will leave an impression. Poorly executed, sloppy design will say something about your business that you’d probably rather it didn’t. If you’re delivering a professional service or merely want to be perceived as professional, this will need to filter down to your design and how you present information.

Capability Statement

Create content that people will want to read

You might own or work for a company that is highly capable with an in-depth level of expertise. The done thing in your business might be to itemise every single thing you deliver for your clients. As commendable as that is, resist the urge to make your capability statement long-winded and overly technical. We all know attention spans are decreasing. Presenting a prospect with an exhaustive 24-page document that reads like a technical manual probably isn’t going to produce the desired result.

There’s a time and a place for detailed service offerings and demonstrating your technical know-how in relation to specific client scenarios. Your capability statement isn’t it. Remember, you want to leave this audience wanting more. If technical processes, IP or similar are a part of what you offer, consider how you can communicate these in a simple way that’s easy to understand. For example, infographics are a brilliant capability statement design device for explaining something that’s difficult to convey in words.

Questions your capability statement should answer

  • What is your USP? Spell out what makes your company different (and of course, better!) than your competition.
  • Who are you? Now not everyone is a fan of the ‘Introduction’, but we are! Introduce your company, talk about how long you’ve been in business, outline your credentials and describe how you treat your clients.
  • What are your core competencies? Here’s your chance to list your services and provide a very brief overview of what they involve and the problems they solve.
  • What experience do you have? Demonstrate credibility with examples of projects you’ve worked on and who your clients are.
  • Are you accredited? Depending on the nature of your work, your potential clients might want to see that you tick all the boxes when it comes to meeting industry standards and licensing requirements.
  • What are your achievements? If you’ve won awards or been recognised for your contribution to the industry, don’t be shy.

Now about the copy. If you’re not a professional copywriter and you don’t have a strong (commercial) writer in house, we strongly recommend that you engage one to write your content. Poorly written, inaccurate or misspelled copy that misses the mark will not do your business any favours. You may be the best at what you do and you might have the most beautiful capability statement design known to man, but if you can’t sell yourself convincingly in words, what’s the point?

Fact: great copy brings in business. It changes minds and pushes people who are on the fence through your doors. Your sales copy should be working very, very hard for your business and if it isn’t, a copywriter can get in and fix it.

There’s such a thing as UX – for print!

OK, so it’s not technically called UX when it comes to print, but how a user experiences your capability statement is important. What type of document are they being presented with? Are they receiving it digitally or via print?

If the answer is digital, what type of file is it being presented in? It must be EASY for your user to click on and click through. Also, the file size can’t be too over the top. No one wants a 10MB+ file that takes forever to load (or worse, crashes their system). On second thoughts, don’t even send them a statement over 5MB. Time is precious! Be considerate.  When your capability statement file size can’t be reduced, for whatever reason, it’s time to explore PDF alternatives ­– a la Issuu.

If you plan to print your capability statement and use it as a leave-behind, that’s when you want to think about the print quality. How it looks, feels and weighs in your hand.

Capability Statement

One final thing to remember…

A great capability statement design goes a long way, but it can’t do all the talking. It won’t win you work without the proper back-up. Your capability statement does not (and should not) replace building a good-quality relationship with a potential client. It’s an essential marketing tool for many businesses, yes, but simply having it and distributing it won’t clinch the deal.

Need more advice about your capability statement design? Reach out to our studio.

The 2019 website design trends worth investing in

Your website. When was the last time you made changes to its design? The start of the year is a great time to reassess your web presence and take inspiration from 2019 website design trends. Here, we’ve rounded up our pick of the most influential trends.

Ideally you should keep a close eye on your website and update it every couple of years. Don’t panic though – we’re not saying you should overhaul your website completely and start from scratch. It could simply be a matter of looking at how visitors behave on your website to identify what requires tweaking, as well as reviewing current functionality to create a more positive UX and modernising design elements. 

The internet moves so fast and websites have a way of dating quickly (remember Flash?), which can affect the perception of your products and services. Bear in mind that your website represents your business around the clock and should be treated like your hardest working, highest-value employee.

In the world of website design, so many things can change in a calendar year – particularly when it comes to algorithm updates, visuals and best practices.

Here are six website design trends our designers are incorporating into their website designs as we speak.

1.     Speed and accuracy are everything

You have just three seconds to grab the attention of your website visitors and convince them to stay on your site. We all know attention spans are getting shorter and most people expect a website to load in less than two seconds – no matter how gorgeous your graphics are. ­

Explore ways to make your website faster to load, easier to understand and more precise in terms of giving your audience what they want. Tell your developer this is a priority for you and ask if they can suggest improvements.

2.     ‘Mobile first’: the most crucial of all the 2019 website design trends

mobile web designs

Mobile phone browsing overtook desktop nearly four years ago, and we all spent around three hours a day looking at our phones in 2018. Today, this is where we do our research, book appointments and shop for everything. Your website needs to look just as good on mobile as it does on desktop.

It’s worth remembering for SEO purposes that Google is a fan of mobile sites. The mobile first culture affects everything about website design, with designers working on small-screen concepts first before they even consider desktop design.

In terms of 2019 website design trends, mobile first means enhancing the user’s experience with mobile friendly navigation, fewer clunky graphics, phone numbers that trigger calls, slideshows that don’t require Flash and very simple navigation. One thing’s for sure ­– this trend is here to stay.

3.     Order the ‘hamburger’

High-quality burger restaurants are still having a moment in hospitality and so is the ‘hamburger’ collapsed menu icon. If you’re not familiar, the hamburger is a button with three clean, simple horizontal lines that stands in for your main navigation. It’s usually found in the upper-left corner of a website, sometimes accompanied by the word ‘menu’ to make things crystal clear.

Not every designer is a fan of the hamburger, but our website designers appreciate it as a simple device that eliminates the need for wordy titles when space is at a premium on a small screen. 

4.     Huge hero images

The humble ‘hero image’ is in; media lead boxes and scrolling image displays are out (for now). Again, this comes back to the overall trend toward simplicity in website design.

Greeting visitors with an impactful hero image makes an immediate impression, particularly on home pages. The caveat to this is that the image must be extremely high quality and say as much as possible about your business.

5.     Playing a video in the background

This year, we predict that leading web designers will continue to weave video backgrounds into their designs. No doubt you’ve seen this design element around online. Embedded videos on the home page create an atmospheric backdrop to reassure visitors and relax the eyes.

The key when exploring this option is to choose videos that are flat, fast-loading and minimal.

6.     An emphasis on good chat

AI is getting better all the time and 2019 website design trends would suggest that we’re finally warming to the idea of chatbots and instant interactivity. No longer are chat features creepy and intrusive – now they genuinely drive enquiries and can solve problems for your customers on the spot! Absolutely worth considering if you’re making changes to your website this year.

Thinking about a website revamp? Our website design experts can bring your online home up to date with cutting-edge design.