Keep Your Document Design Simple

Keep Your Document Design Simple

Creating newsletters, pamphlets, or other documents benefit from a clean, simple design. A clean document design is a combination of common sense and simplicity. Look at examples of documents and web pages you find attractive and use those elements as a guide for your design. Here are some basic tips to make your design easier on the eyes and improve your content development.

  • Long lines-of text are hard to read. Generally, use 60 to 75 characters, or 10 to 14 words per line of text. Use multiple columns, side heads, or if you are stuck with a long line length, increase the leading (space between each line of text) slightly to make it easier for the eye to move from line to line.
  • Use more white space on the page to make your document cleaner and easier to read. Don’t clutter your content and graphics together.
  • Use bullets to highlight important points and use numbered lists to specify order.
  • Use headings and subheadings to help your audience locate the information they are interested in reading.
  • Avoid using more than two type families on a page. Generally use serif (Times) for body text and sans serif (Helvetica) for headlines and table text.
  • Use italics and boldface to highlight words and phrases.
  • Left justification is easier to read and looks less formal than full justification. Select a justification that matches the tone of your document or web page.
  • Graphs, pictures, and charts add interest to your documents and online content. These elements also clarify your text. Use horizontal and vertical lines sparingly to break up large blocks of text.

Apply these design tips on your next document to improve communication and keep the audience interested in your content.