Document layouts: examples and concepts

Document layouts: examples and concepts

While a lot of content is published as web pages, there is still a place for print and PDF. Complex documents, formal reports and promotional magazines are often better suited to a harder format than the soft and fluid form in a web browser. Not only do they allow a greater visual impact, they also tend to be read and reflected on more deeply.

I’ve been designing brochures, reports and magazines on-and-off for the best part of thirty years. It started with tri-fold brochures for my father’s business, went through producing an in-house magazine from scratch for an insurance company and now includes creating investment pitches, analyst reports and brochures.

What follows are examples and concepts that might inspire your next formal document.

Need help with your content? Drop me a line.

A Guide to Osaka Castle

Feature concept for a guide to tourist spots in Japan.

The feature title page focuses on an image that sets the castle into context, with the bridge leading across to the text on the right.

The trio of images on the top right signpost to parts of the feature and set an expectation for the reader. I incorporated a simple train map, with other factoids to be repeated in the same position on following pages. This breaks up the page and stops it becoming a wall of text.

Company Accounts

Most company accounts are dull and poorly laid out. They meet an accounting standard that fails to communicate key messages to those who might be interested in investing, or who are doing due diligence before buying products and services.

These layouts are recreated from a client project to support their plans to find investors. They’ve been recreated using non-confidential data and images from my stock library.

Accounts Highlights

Highlights pull out the main financial performance indicators. The key numbers – revenue, profit and shareholder value – are shown on a single page that grabs the attention.

On the left, more detail and context.

This wouldn’t replace the formal accounting statement, although they’d be reassigned to an appendix.

Executive Statement

The Executive Statement gives context to the accounts and puts forward commentary on past performance. It also gives space to pitch plans for future strategy.

This layout leads into the statement with a mini-profile of the CEO (the image is from my stock library). Messages from the main text are reinforced with key numbers from the accounts.

The layouts were adjusted for each role. For example, the COO had numbers relating to operational performance, the CMO with marketing and sales statistics.

Feature Cover

A strong cover to an article or publication will encourage people to carry on reading. This example uses a close-up portrait of the subject, then adds masking and a simple teaser to draw the reader in. It was created before the December 2019 General Election.

About Ross A Hall

Business researcher and writer. I help people form and deliver competitive strategies.

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