Publish and Launch
Congratulations. You have created a prospectus full of research and narrative. Your next step is to publish a printed version and prepare a digital version for online accessibility.
By now, you will have many, many hours into the project, and you should know the final presentation of the documents and the campaign will determine how your audience reacts to the information. Don't overlook the importance of professional publishing techniques.
There are plenty of powerful applications to help you publish your prospectus, and many economic development organizations may try to internally publish their own materials. Unless the person doing the layout and publishing has professional experience, resist the temptation to create the project internally.
Remember, the biggest cost driver in this project is the time involved. A professional designer will be able to lay the prospectus out very quickly and efficiently if all the content and pictures are ready to go. Tying to learn software and put a professional project together is a recipe for frustration and delays in the project. The final appearance of your document will determine the reception of your hard work by your audience. Appearance matters.
Here are some suggestions to guide you through the process.
Make sure your logo is professionally designed. A professional artist or graphic designer will know how to make your logo look good in digital or print format. Moreover, a professional logo will have clean colors and will resize well.
If you are attempting the layout yourself, learn some of the principles of good design. There many resources to draw from for design suggestions. Here is a simple list to get you started. This list includes the very basics to include. Again, we don't recommend doing the prospectus design internally, BUT, if you must. . .
1. Focal Points
Know where you want to draw the reader's attention. Proper placement of graphics and text will draw the reader into the message you want to stand out. Symmetry, pattern, shapes, lines balance and contrast all matter. Learn how to use the page layout as a roadmap to your message.
A balanced layout has all the design elements playing nicely together. If the design is out of balance, certain elements will fight for the attention causing a visual battle that makes the reader uncomfortable. Have you ever looked a document and it just didn't' feel right? You don't want that for your document.
3. White Space
Understanding how to correctly use white space as your canvas is critical. Don't just add elements or move objects to cover the space. White space helps the reader sort through the material without getting too fatigued or overloaded.
4. Fonts, Style, and Size
A good graphic designer will look at a document and immediately pick out inconsistencies of fonts and styles. To the untrained eye, fonts and sizes can appear "close enough" but when printed or published digitally all the flaws are revealed.
5. Charts and Infographics
Use charts, infographics, and tables appropriately to make your information stand out. In a prospectus, you don't want to "tell" the reader you want to "show" the reader. A great infographic will explain numeric facts with ease and familiarity.
When choosing the photographs for your prospectus, use professional photographs. You are marketing your community and a valuable piece of real estate. It is important to have detailed pictures for potential investors to view.
Also, remember the investors are looking for accessibility to infrastructure and transportation. The investor will be constructing in this opportunity zone and therefore must solve the business case to build. Help them get to a solution with your prospectus.
Lastly, find the best detailed-person in the group who can look at the document critically to make sure the final published version is error-free.