Capability Statement design

A primer on designing a great capability statement that catches their eye and wins the contract.

Design in Action

There is no requirement that your capability statement look a certain way. However, we have compiled some best practices from government contracting, design, and marketing.

Start with the basics – you design for your reader, not for you. How will your contracting officer read your form, and what will they look for? It’s great that you have doubled growth in just two years, but is that what they want? Or do they want a solution to their specific problem? Which they have graciously told you in the form of an RFP.

Ask about them every step of the way. What colors would they like? When and where will they look for contact information? How much text will they read? Or how many images would they like to look at?

where will you go?

One sided or two?

We say two, every time. Find out why.

Organize with boxes

For once, think inside the box.

what colors?

Colors speak volumes. What do yours say?

your call to action

What do they do next?


They really do speak 1,000 words. Use them.

how to do layout

What goes where?

icons and logos

The trick to make them look where you want.

Add more nothing

White space is more powerful than you think.

fonts and typography

Say it well, write it well. Draft like a pro.

random tips

Rules solely for capability statements.

Use Both Sides

Some guides will claim that you need to keep your information on one side of the page. This is dead wrong. If you have very little information, then you may be able to fit it on one side. However, most company’s make the mistake of cramming in too much text and information on one side in the failed attempt to make it fit on a page. They lose a HUGE opportunity to provide more valuable information. When you free yourself to use both sides, you’ll find you can create a truly dynamic and powerful capability statement. Best of all, they will be forced to keep turning the page to learn about your company.

The first side of the page should include your critical information, in case they never turn the page. These include all of the main elements of your capability statement:

  1. Core Competencies
  2. Past Performance
  3. Differentiators
  4. Company Information
  5. Contact Information
  6. Bonus Section

The second side should add supporting information, such as testimonials and past successes case studies. Pick two or three past clients that can really champion your business and product. Include their testimonials, business contact info, their story, and even a headshot if you can get one. Adding a human touch, coupled with the social proof, make this a very powerful technique.

The second side can also showcase your products. A one-sided capability statement may be able to show a tiny picture of a single product, but the back can display more products, more benefits, and more information.

See a Two-Sided Template in Action

How to Do Layout

Modern website design teaches us a lot about layout. It calls for a strong heading and a great image right at the top, so your reader knows exactly what the rest of the document offers them. Your contact information and call to action need to be readily available. This is often done either with a sidebar on the left, or with a footer bar on the bottom. Readers are used to looking for that type of information in those areas, so don’t make them search.

Think of the elements of your capability statement. Which one is your strongest? Make it largest and first. For example, if you don’t have a lot of past performance, but your company offers services nobody else does, put your differentiators section right up front.

Organize with Boxes

All of your key capability statement elements need to be separated into boxes. This is typically a good design tool, but it’s expected for capability statements. To do something different here would seem like you did not understand the project.

Icons and Logos

Icons are a great way to highlight specific points you would like to make. While they may seem like a waste given your space limitations, they provide important visual cues. The very fact that they are on the page drives the readers eyes to the points you are making.

Logos are also important. Government officials work hard to put their logos on their projects. Your past performances section should include the logos of any government agencies you have worked with. It’s not only a visual cue, it also shows you respect their brand and will give them the credit they are working towards.

What colors?

You probably already have a brand with its own colors. Do not deviate from your brand. Your capability statement should have the same branding colors as your brochure, your business cards, and your website.

Starting from your brand colors, you may want to create a different feel. Stick to two or three main colors, and don’t stray from them. Use colors that will convey a feeling you want the contracting officer to feel. Dark blue is trust, red is authority and dynamism, green is financial, etc. If you want to learn more about color psychology, head over here.

Add More Nothing

Emptiness is not the enemy. White space, as it’s known in design, is simply uncluttered space on the page that doesn’t include text or pictures. There’s nothing there. While that may seem crazy, good design makes sure there is plenty of white space so it doesn’t become cluttered. Too much cluttered information leads to information overload, which causes somebody to put down the page. Effective use of white space will make your capability statement seem more professional, easier to read, and will stand out more.

The design site has some great examples. Which one is easier to read?

To do white space correctly, make space for it first. Identify areas on the page where nothing will be. Then make sure your images and text fit within the designated areas. Of course, white space simply means empty, not necessarily white. It can be a picture, or a color like these examples from

Your Call to Action

We love calls to action on our capability statements (if you can’t tell already). But it is not enough to simply put a “Check out our website” box at the bottom. A call to action should pop out, grab the readers attention, and scream “check this out!”

We like calls to action at the bottom right of the page. This allows them to skim your information and suddenly land on this great offer. Calls to action are the one thing that breaks the uniform branding and color rule. The call to action stands out by being a shocking color. Opposites work very well (red brand, green color; purple brand, bright yellow color), because they catch the eye as something different.

Your Best Font Forward

Great designers never overlook their typography, and ensure the fonts are correctly selected and sized. This may seem trivial, they can have a significant (if unconscious) impact on the reader. In fact, one of the only courses Steve Jobs took in college was on typography – that’s how important he knew design would be to his products.

First, there are two categories of fonts: serif and sans serif. Serif refers to the little feet and flourishes on a letter. These fonts are common in books because it’s much easier to read in long works.

Sans serif just refers to letters without serif (“sans” is French for “without”). They are common online because they look clean and modern, and work at low screen resolutions.

There are also Blackletter and Script, but they are never good for a capability statement, so we will skip them.

The first rule of font typography is to never use more than two fonts (unless your logo has something special – then it can be a separate font). The second rule is to use two fonts that go together. Typically, there will be a serif and a sans serif combination. For example, maybe a heading is sans serif, but the text below is serif.

It’s tricky to do the actual selection of fonts, so find something online that looks great to you and matches your brand, and just copy their combo. For a great resource to find pre-paired fonts, check out

Pictures Make the Sale

A capability statement demands so much information, it’s hard to remember that people respond to visuals much better than text. But include as many pictures as possible.

Consider this brochure template from Notice how the pictures emphasize the place rather than list its benefits.


Or check out this capability statement from Empire Freight Logistics:


The moving truck and the steel tread plate background already show they are serious about shipping, even before you read a work. Of course, you’re going to read the “in motion” tagline right away.



Random Tips for Capability Statements

  • Keep your PDF file less than 1MB since some federal government software will reject larger files.
  • NAICS codes are really there to help with their keyword searches. Don’t bother with the descriptions.
  • More important information should be in larger print. Less important information should be smaller, since it will probably be skipped over.

Let Us Take Care of it For You

Hire our team of writers and designers with a proven track record of winning federal contracts create your executive capability statement.

RocketGov has done an exceptional job with our Capability Statement. We have been able to land a numerous amount of contracts because of it. ​

Eduardo Flores, Safe Cone Zone Inc.

Get Your Professional Capability Statement Template