Writing the panel can seem daunting. But work your way through our guide and it will all fall into place.
Title: Either keep it simple and factual, perhaps just the name of the site and theme of the panel or try something intriguing such as a question to draw attention.
Introductory paragraph: most readers won't get beyond this paragraph. So try to keep it short with a few punchy facts. Keep the tone friendly and welcoming.
Body text: Write it out in full and then to reduce the words by half! Keep your sentences short. Avoid repetition and strip out anything that isn't essential to your key points. Avoid using phrases such as 'last year' or 'recently'. If your board is in place for five years or more, these won't make any sense.
Can some of your information be presented as bullet points to help break up text? Are there sections which can be separated into a standalone box or pull-quote?
Do you need to include a call to action? Do you want the reader to go to a website for more information, join a group or tell others? Tell them what you want them to do (in a friendly way!).
Once you think you have completed your text get someone who doesn't know anything about the site to read it through. Does it make sense to them? Were they overwhelmed with information? Ask them to be honest and listen to their feedback!
Contact details: only include information that is unlikely to change in the near future.
Logos and acknowledgements: who are the partners in your project? They will need to supply a high-resolution jpg or eps file of their logo. Ask for these early on to prevent delays.
Proofreading: it is essential that you get one or two people with good grammar skills to check the final panel for you.
Illustrations or Photos
Due to the print process (and copyright) you can't just copy photos from the internet. Photos must be high quality (at least 300 dpi) and eye-catching.
Is there a local professional photographer that can help or your local camera club? National Parks and Wildlife Trusts often have photo libraries. Stock libraries have excellent quality images but you usually need to pay and may have to allow a budget for photos. Talk to us if you need advice. Keep careful note of any credit that must appear alongside photos or illustrations.
If you need a map on your board think about whether you want an Ordnance Survey style map with lots of information. If so, you will need to consider copyright and licensing issues. Otherwise, a simple, hand-drawn map can work well.
Talk to us early on about the mapping you may need as this element can often take quite a few drafts to get it just right for you.