Business documents are part of your branding and style. Look after them and give them some time.
Creative design in business documents is much overlooked and it does impact on your business profile and professional branding. You can have the greatest content, but if it is not easy to read, it will be a waste.
You have the resources at your fingertips – all you need is a little extra time to make that document shine. It makes that much difference.
Modern technology has given us the resources to develop great design in our documents. This means you have to lift your game and make your reader’s experience easy with no interruptions or distractions. The key is consistency.
Here is a quick checklist for great business documents.
- The most important step is to know your computer and software and their design features.
- Use professional typefaces and have the one typeface throughout your document.
- Avoid blocks of bold or italics.
- Give emphasis to a word or phrase using italic or bold, but don’t mix them.
- Use a font size that can be read easily, e.g. 11 or 12 pt.
- Check the space in-between the individual letters. This is known as kerning.
- Keep a nice space in-between your lines in the body of the text. This is known as leading and will vastly improve the readability of your document. A general rule is 2-5 pt bigger than your font size. So if you are using 11 pt, set your line spacing at 13 to 16 pt.
- One space between sentences after the full stop. Use paragraph marks to help with this.
- The length of your line of type should be between 40-70 characters. Your reader’s eyes need to be able to move easily from one line to the next.
- Most business documents are written using unjustified left alignment. Alignment has a strong impact on the overall appearance of your document. Centre alignment does not work in business documentation.
- Make sure that the uneven side of your text has a reasonable level of evenness. You will probably need to make manual adjustments to get a soft flow of alignment.
Observe what articles you read and consider why you read them. Part of it is the content, but the
readability and presentation are big factors. Take just a few minutes more. It is worth it.
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