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 without resorting to being 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 their products and services.

Accounts Highlights

Highlights pull out the key financial performance indicators. The key numbers – revenue, profit and shareholder value – are pulled out 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 resigned to an appendix.

Executive Statement

Executive Statements give context to the accounts and allow management teams to put forward their commentary on past performance, and 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 would be adjusted for each role. For example, the COO may have 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.

About Ross A Hall

I help companies make the most of content. Some people call me a writer, others a content manager. I prefer "someone who gets results".

Need a hand? Get in touch.

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