Back when I was studying recreation leadership in college, the visual quality of any report was important. But, there were few formatting options on my trusty typewriter. Preparing a good-looking document meant that you knew to push the carriage back to underscore the title and you indented a paragraph exactly five spaces.
Today, document design is unbelievably different—underscore a word and suddenly your reader is on another website or indent a paragraph and you risk being labelled “old-school”. It used to be that you had to call a typesetter to create any printable item. Now, nearly everyone has a design tool at their fingertips. This means that customers’ expectations are running at an all-time high. Readers want to find the information that they need quickly while being wowed by the visual presentation. They want similar and contrasting ideas identified and separated with the use of colour, typography, images and illustrations.
Recently, my husband added this visual portfolio as an appendix to a request for proposal (RFP) submission. We focused our efforts on providing clear and concise information. We picked out photos that represented the quality of his work (in this case the photos did not need to be professionally sourced). And, I insisted we keep it brief. In fact, we could have made a 30-page document of his work. It looked fantastic as a colour print and he was proud to send it.
For your next document, set aside time to create a visually appealing design… you are sure to get a few more high-fives around the office.