5 Factors of Proper Document Design and How It Influences the Overall Perception

5 Factors of Proper Document Design and How It Influences the Overall Perception

How do you feel about reading lots of information from bulky, boring rows of endless content? Despite how useful and exciting the content might be, chances are that you won’t enjoy reading or engaging with it. You might even lose interest at first sight and decide not to read it. That’s why you should put yourself in your readers' shoes when developing a document layout. This way, you will realize what works and what doesn’t. In retrospect, a good layout document looks pleasing and attractive and positively impacts your readers' general view. The key to producing an effective layout is to learn about the design requirements a document needs to adhere to. Lucky for you, this article will teach you about these rules.

What is effective document design?

An effective document design comprises information that triages many input sources and assembles them in a logical and understandable manner. This enables the creator or author to build a storyline around the product or feature at the center of focus. An effective layout accomplishes a purpose, improving a certain situation for targeted users. As such, it’s essential to use plain language writing to promote understanding and creative graphics to elaborate your message. The tactical use of color is also key to drawing the eye to vital information. In the end, an effective document should generate a good-looking space and get the job done.

How to create a good design document?

A design document is a basic component of technical writing. This means that if you don’t format your content to promote readability, it may not get the attention it deserves. Therefore, for effective document design you should follow the guidelines below, and you will definitely attract readers' interest.

Know your audience

The main goal of engaging in the process of a design document is to relay information to your audience and ensure it matches their characteristics. Let’s say your document targets young children at an elementary school. In this case, you will have to utilize a few words, large text, images, cartoons, and activities to capture and maintain the attention of this audience. In contrast, you may have to apply more detailed images, smaller text, and headlines to divide the text for an adult audience. If your document is for the elderly, it is advisable to use larger and distinct fonts to accommodate the differing degrees of visual impairment.

Use visual aids

Imagine reading a document explaining how to use a server, and you don’t have any technical background. Not only that, the author uses technical terms and doesn’t care to include any visuals within the text. Won’t you have a hard time comprehending the info? You may also find the text boring. Adding pictorials like charts, photographs, maps, tables, etc., is important to attract your readers’ attention and enable them to comprehend your ideas better. The visual elements are similar to illustrations that help tell a story, enhance your written ideas, and simplify technical textual descriptions. They allow the reader to comprehend a complicated process or picture trends in the data. Remember, visuals elaborate, illustrate, and enhance your written content; their goal isn’t to replace the text. It’s also important to note that the images you use must be relevant to the text in the document. Adding “unnecessary graphics” just to beautify or fill up your doc may confuse your audience. Therefore, select the right kind of pictures that relay your message effectively.

Well-structure your headings

Headings usually guide the reader around the various topics a document covers. If you structure them well, they will draw your readers' attention and keep them moving through the entire text. A good document design features headings written in bold typeface flush or something close. They should also have a similar font size and style for consistency. Importantly, ensure your headings have concrete keywords that align with their goals. For instance, instead of having a heading such as ‘Cat Grooming,’ add a benefit or reason and write it like this ‘Cat Grooming for Fewer Hairballs.’ Using this approach gives the reader a mental picture of how your content will help them. If you want to use third-level headings, ensure you add at least one sentence after the second-level heading. Why is this necessary? Providing a break between headings allows the audience to pause and assimilate the text before reading the next info.

Arrange text and graphics

A professional document design should have well-arranged texts and graphics. In addition, your layout must offer the users perceptual hints that enable them to process information easily. Readers normally deduce the design before reading, recalling, or comprehending your text. Use the following document design ideas when organizing your text and graphics to make your content more eye-catching and efficient:

  • Apply consistent patterns. For instance, if you are writing about procedures, you can begin with a heading, followed by an intro paragraph. Next, start the procedure with a bolded statement, such as, “To groom your pet...” Then talk about the steps chronologically.

  • Place graphics in the readers’ left visual field. This is the most effective position because images are processed on the right side of the brain.

  • Group the same objects together.

  • Don’t use excess graphics on your document.

  • Always use simple interpretations.

  • The document header design should be at the top left side of the page. You can include details like the doc’s name, chapter heading, page numbers, etc.


Balance impacts a document's general appearance, so you must ensure that a page's visual weight is equal on both sides. There are two kinds of balance techniques you can use, namely, symmetrical and asymmetrical. If you decide to use the former approach, all the visual aids you put on one side of the page should be replicated on the other side. This doesn’t mean that the visual elements comprise identical objects; rather, they are the same in relation to the number of colors, objects, and other components. This formal balance ensures that the reader doesn’t struggle to see relationships between certain messages. In contrast, applying asymmetrical balance means balancing several smaller objects on one side with a bigger object on the other. You can also achieve asymmetrical balance by placing smaller items further away from the screen’s center than bigger objects. You may want to use this type of balance when you design a document since it’s more exciting and interesting.


What comes to mind when you hear about proportion? Is it the placement of text and graphic aid? If so, then you are right. Proportion also focuses on the size, weight, and formatting of other elements within a document layout. To develop a proportion that is pleasing to the eye, partition your page into thirds. Then, place your most vital visual aid at the center of the page and ensure it is proportionate to the rest of the page. You can later include your text and other elements. Avoid utilizing a monotonous layout throughout every page if you desire to generate a high level design document. As a result, your readers won’t have any problems using your document.


Order is all about demonstrating sequence and significance. A majority of readers assume that what appears first on a page is more vital than the other subsequent components. In that regard, you should place your most important message at the top of the page, followed by info of reducing importance. This way, you’ll be able to grab the readers’ attention on what message they need to concentrate on the most.


Contrast is another important factor you must include in your word document design. It denotes the main focus or element on a page. So, you can utilize contrast to illustrate differences and emphasize certain points. For instance, use darker and bigger visual aids on your page if you want readers to focus on them more. Make sure all your designs have a distinct focal point. Users generally believe that different appearances indicate differences in meaning or function. Remember to use contrast when you want to attract attention to things like cautions, notes, and labels.


The similarity principle indicates that objects with the same visual feature are presumed to be linked somehow. To comply with the principle, you can use a similar typeface for all headlines and another typeface on the text that tells a story. Another suggestion is to apply the same size to all text that talks about a specific function. When it comes to color, ensure they have the same hue. Also, use color to connect different components and communicate that they are really related.

Unity of the doc

Unity merges all the components of the message, enabling each of them to exist side-by-side and form a visually attractive layout. Eventually, unity is responsible for giving your document an appearance of harmony despite the inner components differing in style or scale. Therefore, a bad document design is one where all its visuals are not unified. The pages of your document must have the same structure to maintain consistency. Letting every page have a unique form or shape is strongly discouraged.

What is the importance of document design?

A document layout is vital as it enhances the general look of your documentation. As such, it helps your work to appear official, consistent and cohesive, adding extra points to your product. Another benefit is that a good layout makes your text identifiable. In essence, design can be likened to marketing as it can position your product in the market. As more people turn to your documents to get information, the popularity of your messages will soar. It’s worth noting that a low level design document helps you to remain focused by ensuring you don’t deviate from the goals. Consequently, you can develop an effective document that attains your purpose and is usable by the reader.

Did you know that a good design can enhance communication between you and your audience? Through design, it’s possible to envisage your goals, make your content visually appealing, illustrate what you desire users to focus on, and show them you care about their needs. Now that you know the advantages of a good design layout, it’s time to make one. Thanks to ElegantDoc.com, you can build perfectly designed documents quickly and effortlessly.


Evidently, an effective document doesn't emphasize the layout’s beauty only but also its ability to easily communicate the essence and context of your message. Therefore, you should strive to comply with the recommended guidelines for creating a good layout document. You won’t be disappointed by the outcome.