Even the most promising proposal or report can suffer from poor layout, graphics, or typography. Similarly, a brilliantly designed document carries greater – perhaps decisive – impact. If practical, use professionals for this kind of work.
Assessing Design Need
Whatever the document, aim for the highest practicable design standards, but vary the approach to meet the need. For example, the design of the external sales document must complement your cooperate image and “advertise” the organization, using its logo properly and projecting high quality. Internal documents have more freedom. Unless you have been trained in design, you may need to employ a professional designer to give documents extra visual impact. Choose someone experienced who specializes in this work.
Using A Designer
If you decide to employ a professional designer, how do you find someone whose work fits the style you are looking for? Always look at a designer’s portfolio since their previous work is a good indication of what they can do. Give the designer a clear brief at the outset. Explain fully what you want to be designed, ask for roughs if appropriate, and give dates for any review stages and deadlines. Do not be afraid to reject preliminary work and re-brief to ensure that ultimately you get what you want. Remember that your judgment should not just be based on whether or not you “like” the design, but rather on whether it meets the business aims.
Designing For Clarity
One of the most important design decisions is the choice of font (typeface) Modern software programmes offer a fantastic range, but the main font must be clear and highly readable. If your budget allows the use of colour, by all means, make the most of it. However, avoid printing words over colour or illustrations, since this may affect legibility. White type on a black background is also hard to read. Resist gimmicks: keep the design simple and suited to its purpose.
Points To Remember
- Using many different fonts at the same time can lead to a confusing overall look
- Legibility is very important – the type should not be too small.
- A well-designed document is one that you enjoy looking at, but that also serves its function.
- Add meaning headlines and captions – people read them first.
- Use colour images, graphs, and charts in documents when possible.
- Keep an eye on design work as it progresses so you can head off errors or re-brief early.