We have all felt it and are all aware of the astounding increase in competition in all fields of business. That is why it’s important to know, not only what makes yours stand out, but also how you can maintain a professional and attractive brand. As designers, we know many creative techniques that can ensure your business is shown in the best light, but there are a few rules you can stick to as well that will help you to look great if you don’t have the budget for a design agency collaboration…
Transform your business collateral
By following these 5 simple design and layout principles, you can transform your PowerPoint presentation or Word Document from drab to fab, showing the recipient that you’ve taken time to produce documents that function well and look good.
Using columns helps your document look well-structured and neat, which in turn makes it more legible. In general, try to use 2, 4 or 6 columns to split your copy on the page. Reading long paragraphs of text from end to end can be off-putting.
Set you margins in around the edge of your page. This allows your content to breathe and fit comfortably on the page.
Stay consistent. Choose two suitable fonts that work well together and can differentiate between headings and body copy. Too many different fonts can look messy and unsettling to the eye! The wrong font can also suggest the wrong message. Read our blog on font choices to see how and why.
The importance of your content needs to be well considered. What’s most important (for example, your call to action or breaking headline) should often be large and at the top of the page, whereas your source links, for example, can go right at the bottom as side notes. Maybe you want a pull-out box with secondary information that still needs to be highlighted. We hope you would never put your heading at the bottom of the page, but watch out for placements as this can make or break the function of your document!
Images, illustrations and infographics
“A photo says 100 words” is true. Images or graphics help the reader quickly identify what the article or paper is about and draw them in creatively. When it comes to copy heavy documents such as whitepapers, try to break up your text with complimentary images or bespoke illustrations that will give the reader a break from reading and will therefore be more likely to complete the document.
Things to be aware of
Font conversion between devices
When creating a PowerPoint presentation for example, it’s important to consider your fonts wisely. There is a selection of safe fonts that the majority of devices have installed which we recommend you use instead of more bespoke fonts. This is because, when the presentation is opened on another device, the bespoke fonts won’t show up correctly and may disturb the layout of your pages.
Image quality – print vs web
For print your images need to be 300dpi (press printing) or 200dpi (in the case of digital printing) and for web; usually 72dpi. This shows that you shouldn’t take images from the Google and use them on your roller banner because the quality is likely to be very poor at actual size. It would be advisable to invest in a stock photo provider such as Shutterstock or iStock to have access to high quality images for print.
It is important to feature your logo on stand-alone documents; after all, it’s the most obvious way to let readers know which brand it belongs to. With this in mind you don’t want it to scream at your audience on every page as you content should mainly carry the message, so it shouldn’t be too large and overpowering. At the same time, you don’t want it to get lost amongst the rest of the content, so finding a balance and right placement is essential when creating a document that looks well branded and professional.
Your Call to action
If your document is being shared externally, make sure you have the correct contact details clearly laid out – it sounds obvious but does get missed more frequently thank you think.
All of this may sound a little overwhelming for non-designers, but with a little practice, it will be very beneficial to your business. Another option, of course, is to [hand it over] to the professionals – We can help with both graphic design and web design solutions, that will put your mind at ease, knowing that these principles are adhered to with creative flair.