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White Paper Design Tips that Sell

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16 easy-to-implement graphic design ideas to improve the readability of all your print and PDF communications, including white papers, brochures, ebooks, newsletters, one sheets, reports, etc. Learn …

16 easy-to-implement graphic design ideas to improve the readability of all your print and PDF communications, including white papers, brochures, ebooks, newsletters, one sheets, reports, etc. Learn how simple design changes can make a big difference. Summarizes the results of Microsoft's extensive research into readability. Great for improving your staff's visual literacy.

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  • 1. ROGER C. PARK ER’Sdesign to sell White paper design that sells 16 easy-to-implement best practices The design of your white papers play a major role in their success. White paper readership is never guaranteed—no matter how well they are written. Design can easily get between your words and your prospects. Design pre-sells the importance of your words and sets your white paper apart from others. Design also determines readability—the measure of how easy it is to read your white paper. White paper writers must use design to convert a prospect’s initial curiosity into extended reading. Readers in a hurry Prospects are always in a hurry. If your white paper doesn’t present a pleasurable reading experience, puts up obstacles to easy reading, your prospects—and your client’s prospects—are likely to put your white paper down or press Acrobat’s “close” button. About the author The Magic of Reading Roger C. Parker has The design techniques described below are based on extensive research into the introduced millions of psychology of reading, as described in The Magic of Reading, by Bill Hill. readers to graphic Bill studied over 12,000 pages of books, articles and research papers. His research design since 1985. indicates there are no “readers;” there are only “recognizers.” His books, Reading is based on serial pattern recognition. Rather than “sounding out” indi- newsletters, vidual letters, readers scan groups of words and their brains translate word shapes and training into meaning. This happens instantaneously, over and over again. resources include Serial pattern recognition has major implications for white paper design. Looking Good in Print and Design to Sell.  1999, Microsoft Corporation.Copyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker www.designtosellonline.com
  • 2. White Paper Design that Sells design to sellMargins and columns LayoutThe difference that a 2-columnlayout adds to white papers is The layout, or placement of text and graphics on each page, of your white paper,shown by the illustrations below. plays a major role in its image and readability. Here are some layout tips that pre- pare the foundation for the success of your white paper. White Paper Design that Sells design to sell Layout The layout, or placement of text and graphics on each page, of your white paper, plays a major role in its image and read- ability. Here are some layout tips that prepare the foundation for the success of your white paper. 1. Provide generous margins 1. Provide generous margins White space along the top, bottom, and sides of each page helps create “open,” attractive pages. Generous margins project an inviting, easy-to-read image that invites readership. Margins also provide space for reader to hold your white paper while reading it, without hiding any of the text or graph- White space along the top, bottom, and sides of each page helps create “open,” attractive pages. Generous margins project an inviting, easy-to-read image that ics. The “default,” or “automatic,” margins created by most software programs when you open new documents are often too narrow. To address this problem, use your program’s “page setup,” or “document set-up,” commands to increase the mar- gins, adding extra white space along the edges of each page. . Choose a -column layout invites readership. Long lines of type extending from the left-hand to the right-hand margins create white papers that project a dull, hard to read, image. A better alternative is to base your white papers on a 2-column design. Use a narrow column to the left and a wider col- umn to the right. This adds visual interest to each page and focuses your prospect’s eyes on the text to the right. A 2-col- umn layout also reduces the line length of your body copy, so your readers’ eyes don’t have to make as many left-to-right Margins also provide space for readers to hold your white paper while reading it, “jumps” across each line of text. Shorter lines also means that there will be less chance that readers will get lost making the transition from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. “Doubling” occurs when prospects inadvertently reread the same line. without hiding any of the text or graphics. Place graphics, short text elements, and quotations, in the narrow, left-hand column, as I’ve done in the publication you’re reading. Type Type plays a major role in determining the image your white paper projects to prospects. The typefaces you choose, and The “default,” or “automatic,” margins created by most software programs when you open new documents are often too narrow. To address this problem, use your the way you format them, plays a crucial role in determining your white paper’s readability. 3. Choose an easy-to-read typeface Start by choosing a serif typeface, like Times New Roman or Garamond, for the body copy your white paper. Serif type- faces are significantly easier to read than sans-serif designs like Arial or Helvetica. program’s “page setup,” or “document set-up,” commands to increase the margins, Copyright © 2007 Roger C. Parker –– www.designtosellonline.com adding extra white space along the edges of each page.A single column of type extend-ing the full width of each page 2. Choose a 2-column layoutcreates a boring, hard-to-read Long lines of type extending from the left-hand to the right-hand margins createwhite paper. white papers that project a dull, hard to read, image. A better alternative is to base your white papers on a 2-column design. Use a nar- row column to the left and a wider column to the right. This adds visual interest White Paper Design that Sells design to sell to each page and focuses your prospect’s eyes on the text to the right. A 2-column Layout The layout, or placement of text and graphics on each page, of your white paper, plays a major role in its image and readability. Here are some layout tips that layout also reduces the line length of your body copy, so your readers’ eyes don’t prepare the foundation for the success of your white paper. 1. Provide generous margins have to make as many left-to-right “jumps” across each line of text. White space along the top, bottom, and sides of each page helps create “open,” attractive pages. Generous margins project an inviting, easy-to-read image that invites readership. Margins also provide space for reader to hold your white paper while reading it, without hiding any of the text or graphics. Shorter lines also mean that there will be less chance that readers will get lost mak- The “default,” or “automatic,” margins created by most software programs when you open new documents are often too narrow. To address this problem, use your program’s “page setup,” or “document set-up,” commands to increase the margins, adding extra white space along the edges of each page. . Choose a -column layout Long lines of type extending from the left-hand to the right-hand margins cre- ing the transition from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. “Doubling” occurs when prospects inadvertently reread the same line. ate white papers that project a dull, hard to read, image. A better alternative is to base your white papers on a 2-column design. Use a narrow column to the left and a wider column to the right. This adds visual in- terest to each page and focuses your prospect’s eyes on the text to the right. A 2-column layout also reduces the line length of your body copy, so your readers’ Place graphics, short text elements, and quotations, in the narrow, left-hand col- eyes don’t have to make as many left-to-right “jumps” across each line of text. Shorter lines also means that there will be less chance that readers will get lost making the transition from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. “Doubling” occurs when prospects inadvertently reread the same line. Place graphics, short text elements, and quotations, in the narrow, left-hand column, as I’ve done in the publication you’re reading. umn, as I’ve done in the publication you’re reading. Type Type plays a major role in determining the image your white paper projects to prospects. The typefaces you choose, and the way you format them, plays a crucial role in determining your white paper’s readability. Copyright © 2007 Roger C. Parker –– www.designtosellonline.com TypeA 2-column layout is more attrac- Type plays a major role in determining the image your white paper projects totive, makes reading easier, and prospects. The typefaces you choose, and the way you format them, plays a crucialcreates space for placing addi- role in determining your white paper’s readability.tional text or graphics.Copyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker –– www.designtosellonline.com
  • 3. White Paper Design that Sells design to sellSerif vs. sans serif type 3. Choose an easy-to-read typeface and Start by choosing a serif typeface, like Times New Roman or Garamond, for the body copy of your white paper. Serif typefaces are significantly easier to read than sans-serif designs like Arial or Helvetica. Serifs are the tiny decorative strokes added to the characters. (Sans-serif designs lack these strokes). Serifs contribute to easy reading by helping prospects recog-Serif typefaces, like Adobe nize the distinct shapes of the characters that make up each word. Serifs also leadMinion, above, used in this your prospects’ eyes from character to character and word-to-word.report have tiny strokes which Research has proven that serif typeface designs are easier to read than sans serifhelp readers recognize each designs, even though many feel that sans serif designs project a more “contem-character and which lead the porary” or “high tech” image.reader’s eyes from left to right. 4. Use type to visually “brand” your white paper and There’s a world of type beyond familiar serif typefaces like Times New Roman. Different designs help you set your white papers apart from the competition. Explore alternative serif typeface designs like Garamond, Century Schoolbook, Palatino, or Minion (used for the body copy you’re reading). There are numerous online sources where you can purchase different typeface designs.Sans serif typefaces, like Frutiger,above, also used in this report When choosing type, however, avoid typefaces with exaggerated characteristics.lack these distinguishing strokes What may look “interesting” to you in a short sample may prove to be difficultand have simpler shapes. for your prospects to read in extended doses. Stick to the designs which have been successfully used for years. These include Garamond, Century Schoolbook, Minion, Palatino, and Utopia.Choosing the right 5. Choose the right type sizetype size Avoid setting body copy type too large or too small. Either extreme slows readersTwo similar typefaces, Adobe down and can cause them to put your white paper down.Garamond and Adobe Utopia, Type set too large slows down readers because it interferes with their rhythmic,set the same size can appear left-to-right, eye scans. Type set too small causes squinting and eye strain.dramatically different, as shownbelow. Begin by examining your software program’s default, or automatic, “normal” orageage “body text” type size. Type is measured in points. There are about 72 points per inch. The default type size is often wrong for the line length you’re using. Choose type size based on the typeface you’re using and the column width (or line length).Copyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker –– www.designtosellonline.com
  • 4. White Paper Design that Sells design to sell Determine the right type size for your white paper’s body copy by trial and error. Set a typical paragraph in several different type sizes. See which combination is easiest to read. Experiment with half-point differences in type size. Sometimes, 11 point type is too small, 12 points is too large, but 11.5 points is perfect! TYPE 6. Choose the right type case and style Never set headlines or sentences entirely in upper case type, i.e., “capital letters.” Words set entirely in upper case type are significantly harder to read than wordsThe above example, set entirely set in lower case type. Words set in upper case also occupy more space.in upper case type, is hard Readers recognize words by their distinct shapes, created by the differentto read because it lacks a characters used in each word. Some words contain characters with elementsdistinguishing shape. that extend upwards. Other words contain characters with elements that extend downward. type Words set entirely in upper case type, however lack distinguishing shapes. Their shapes are rectangles with do not provide clues for serial pattern recognition. In addition, use restraint with style options like bold, italics, and bold-italics. These styles are appropriate for occasional use, but lose their impact when over-This example, set the same size, used. Because the characters are less familiar than regular, or Roman, type, theseis easier to read, because the options also slow down your readers’ scanning rate.t, y, and p create a shape youreye and brain recognize becausethey’ve encountered it before. 7. Adjust line and paragraph spacing Although often neglected, line spacing is as important to white paper image and readability as type size. Your software program’s default line spacing is a compromise measurement based on the “average” line length and an “average” typeface. Explore different settings using your software program’s line spacing, or “leading,” command. As you increase line spacing, notice how readability increases. The additional line spacing frames each line with white space, isolating each line, making it easier to recognize word shapes. The additional line spacing also helps guide your pros- pects’ eyes from left to right. In this document, for example, I have used significantly more line spacing than the software program’s default spacing. But, notice that I did not use double line spacing. Too much line spacing interferes with easy reading by making it harder to transition from the end of one line to the beginning of the next.Copyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker –– www.designtosellonline.com
  • 5. White Paper Design that Sells design to sellTypical white paper Paragraph spacing is equally important. Never press the Enter key twice at theinformation hierarchy end of a paragraph, in order to insert extra space between paragraphs. This cre- ates too much space between paragraphs.  Title  Section heads Instead, use your software program’s “space after” command to add paragraph  Subheads spacing equal in height to approximately 1 1/2 lines of text.  Body copy  Captions 8. Create an obvious visual hierarchy  Headers and footers Most prospects will quickly scan your white paper before committing to read it.  Footnotes If nothing catches their eye, they’ll find something else to read. To attract their attention, your white paper must communicate at a glance. Im- portant text, like headlines and subheads, should be larger and more noticeableBold versus Black than supporting information, like body copy and captions.Compare the Bold version of Likewise, information in headers and footers—titles, copyright information, andFrutiger, top, with the Black page numbers placed at the tops and bottoms of each page—should not competeversion on the next line. with the body copy. Headlines and subheads should be distinctly larger than body copy.Subhead Create a visual hierarchy by using contrasting typeface designs. Try combining sans serif typefaces for headlines and body copy with serif typefaces for bodySubhead copy. The noticeable differences in typeface design will help your prospects im- mediately recognize each element of white paper architecture. You can emphasize headlines and subheads by using the black, heavy, or ultra black versions that come with many sans serif designs. These have more of a presence on the page. You can also set subheads in color. Draw attention to subheads by adding extra space above the subheads. The extra space creates a visual barrier that emphasizes the introduction of a new topic. Graphics Graphics— illustrations, photographs, and tables—enhance the appearance and communicating power of your white paper. Words, alone, may fail to keep your prospect’s attention and fully communicate your white paper’s story. 9. Use graphics to communicate at a glanceA cycle graphic communicates Whenever possible, communicate with graphics instead of words in sentencesinformation in a simpler and and paragraphs. Graphics communicate at a glance. Graphics can both commu-more memorable way than nicate and dramatize.words in a paragraph.Copyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker –– www.designtosellonline.com
  • 6. White Paper Design that Sells design to sellText wrap example Choose the type of information graphics based on the interpretation you wantBefore & after to provide. Options include: Write Your Way to Success Published &Profitable  Pie charts communicate part/whole relationships ute audio, video, and printed files around the world at virtually no cost. The power of commitment Equally important, the Internet makes it feasible for individuals to pro- mote their book online to readers and reviewers around the world. Digital print-on-demand. Until recently, book publishing was limited  Bar graphs display comparisons …the moment one by economies of scale. The cost of printing books rapidly declined as definitely commitments the number of books printed increased. Authors had to print thousands  Line charts show changes over time oneself, then of copies before they sold their first copy. Now, however, books can be providence moves, printed as they are sold! This eliminates the need for major up-front too. A whole stream investment and the possibility of garages filled with unsold books. of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner Getting started of unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance, which no The secret to becoming profitably published is to follow a system, or process, that breaks what should be done into a series of tasks, each of which—by it- self— is easily accomplished.  Organization charts display hierarchy and responsibility man could have dreamt would have come his Step 1: Planning  Tables help readers compare details way. 1 Planning is crucial. Without careful planning, even the ideas and best-writ- ten books are unlikely to succeed. Planning involves answering questions like the following before you move forward.  Photographs communicate literally What are your goals and ex- pectations? Why are you in- terested in writing a book? How will your book contribute to your success? Is there a market for your book? Who will buy it? Why should they buy it? What are the characteristics of your market?  Illustrations allow you to be selective in what you display What’s your book about? What problems will your book help readers solve? What will set it apart from the competition? 1 William Hutchison Murray’s, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition Which publishing alternative makes the most sense? What are the pros and cons of the alternatives available? What’s required?  Timelines display events in context What can you expect from literary agents and publishers? What do agents As quoted in Sarah Susanka’s The and publishers want from you? How do you locate and approach them? Not So Big Life: Making Room  Cycles display sequence for What Really Matters, 2007. Copyright © 2007 Roger C. Parker –7– www.publishedandprofitable.com Lists provide you with an opportunity to add visual interest to your pages whileThe text wrap created when a communicating more effectively. Use bullets to indicate random information or-graphic is placed in a column of der. Use numbers to emphasize importance or sequence.text creates disorganized pagesand interrupts the readers’ rhyth- Add titles explaining the relevance of your graphics. Use additional captions formic left to right scans. details and to reinforce the graphic’s message or intended interpretation. 10. Avoid text wraps Write Your Way to Success Published &Profitable The power of ute audio, video, and printed files around the world at virtually no cost. Equally important, the Internet makes it feasible for individuals to pro- Text wraps occur when graphics are placed within text columns, where they re- mote their book online to readers and reviewers around the world. duce the line length of adjacent text. Text wraps interfere with rhythmic reading, commitment Digital print-on-demand. Until recently, book publishing was limited …the moment one by economies of scale. The cost of printing books rapidly declined as definitely commitments the number of books printed increased. Authors had to print thousands because readers have to adjust their left-to-right eye rhythmic movements. oneself, then of copies before they sold their first copy. Now, however, books can be providence moves, printed as they are sold! This eliminates the need for major up-front too. A whole stream investment and the possibility of garages filled with unsold books. of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner Getting started Place graphics so they align with adjacent text columns. Two-column page layouts of unforeseen incidents, The secret to becoming profitably published is to follow a system, or process, meetings, and material that breaks what should be done into a series of tasks, each of which—by it- assistance, which no self— is easily accomplished. man could have dreamt can accommodate a variety of large and small graphics. Place small horizontal would have come his way. 1 Step 1: Planning Planning is crucial. Without careful planning, even the ideas and best-written books are unlikely to succeed. Planning involves answering questions like the following before you move forward. What are your goals and expectations? Why are you interested in writing a book? How will your book contribute to your success? graphics, and narrow vertical graphics in the narrow column to the left of your Is there a market for your book? Who will buy it? Why should they buy it? What are the characteristics of your market? What’s your book about? What problems will your book help readers solve? main text column. What will set it apart from the competition? Which publishing alternative makes the most sense? What are the pros and cons of the alternatives available? What’s required? What can you expect from literary agents and publishers? What do agents Larger and wider graphics, however, can be placed within the text columns. and publishers want from you? How do you locate and approach them? More books fail to achieve their goals because of a lack of planning than a lack of writing ability. 1 William Hutchison Murray’s, The The biggest mistake first-time authors often make is to write a book before they Scottish Himalayan Expedition have done the proper planning. Writing without planning is like driving from As quoted in Sarah Susanka’s The Atlanta to Los Angeles without a map. You may arrive at the right location, Color Not So Big Life: Making Room but—chances are—you won’t! for What Really Matters, 2007. Copyright © 2007 Roger C. Parker –7– www.publishedandprofitable.comSlightly reducing the graphic and Color is one of the most visual aspects of a white paper. Color is most powerfulplacing it in the narrow column when it is subtly and consistently employed.restores rhythmic reading to thetext column.Copyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker –– www.designtosellonline.com
  • 7. White Paper Design that Sells design to sell 11. Use color with restraint Use color to communicate rather than decorate. Only add color when it enhances your message and reinforces your firm’s corporate identity—or, your client’s cor- porate identity. Consistency is the key. The colors used in white papers should be the same as the colors used in a firm’s other online and offline marketing. These colors should relate, in some way, to the colors used in the firm’s logo. The overuse of color prevents branding—creating a unique, consistent image that multiplies the effectiveness of a firm’s marketing. When multiple colors are used, none of the colors contribute to an image. But, when a few colors are consistently used throughout a firm’s marketing, the colors—like the yellow of McDonald’s arches or JetBlue’s blue logo—creates a synergy that prospects will remember.Recolor chart andgraphic elements Less is always more. A single color highlight on a page will attract more attention than the same color used in several locations on a page—especially if the high-They should match your white light emphasizes a key point.paper’s color palette 12. Specify color palettes A color palette is a selection of a limited number of colors chosen because they work well together in print and online. Colors should be identified using specific values, or numbers, rather than visually. Once selected, the color palettes should be available to all employees on all computers. Rather than introduce too many colors in a palette, consider adding design flex-Pie chart, above, as originally ibility by using tints and shades of your firm’s key colors:created in a spreadsheet  Tints. Adding white lightens the colors, making it useful for backgroundsprogram. and fills.  Screens. Adding black makes them suitable for small type set or bor- ders. 13. Recolor graphics Avoid the default colors used by software programs when adding bullets to lists or charts and graphs. Instead, recolor bullets and chart elements to match the color palette associated with your firm’s corporate identity.Pie chart elements after recolor- This greatly enhances the professional image projected by the white paper. Recol-ing to match color palette.Copyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker –– www.designtosellonline.com
  • 8. White Paper Design that Sells design to sell R O G E R C . PA R K E R ’ S “ D E S I G N T O S E L L ” oring imported graphics also integrates the visuals with your white paper’s text. Proofing Checklist It communicates professionalism and attention to detail. It shows that someone .95 cared—and is likely to care when prospects sign on the dotted line and become No job is complete until you proofread it one more time! $7 ue l Va E! Keep this checklist next to your computer. Refer to it E FR before you print and distribute each of your publications. Did you read your publication out loud? clients. Reading out loud helps you identify errors like repeated words, omitted words, long sentences, and awkward sentence construction. Is text easy to read? Is there a pleasing relationship between type size, line length, and line spac- Pay particular attention to the appropriateness and consistency of colors used ing? Can your eyes quickly scan several words at a time on each line? Are there any distracting text wraps, widows, or orphans? Avoid text and subheads isolated at the top or bottom of columns and pages. to format: Paragraphs at the top or bottom of pages must contain at least two lines.  Bullets in a list Has extra spacing slipped in between words and sentences? Never press the space bar twice after periods at the end of sentences. Also, check for extra word spacing inadvertently added during editing. Are there headlines or subheads set in upper case type? Headlines and subheads set entirely in upper case type, i.e. capital letters, take up more space and are harder to read. Are there any cluttered or crowded pages?  Borders and fills in tables Are there any unnecessary design elements? Is there sufficient white space at the tops and bottoms of columns, and between text elements? Did you limit headlines and subhead length? Limit headlines to 3 lines; subheads to a single line. No exceptions!  Slices of a pie chart Did you check phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and URLs?  Bars in a graph Always confirm all phone numbers and addresses before distributing your message to check for transposed or missing numbers or words. Did you run the spell checker one last time? Spelling errors are often unintentionally added at the last minute, when a “final touch” is made to a headline or caption. Are any words missing? Check the last paragraphs of every article or story, to make sure that no lines are missing and the “Text in Overflow” icon is not visible. ©2006 Roger C. Parker www.designtosellonline.com ProofingProofing checklist The real work begins just when you think you’ve finished your white paper! WhatPlastic laminated review of last- happens after you finished writing and formatting your white paper is as impor-minute design elements to check. tant as what happened while you were writing and formatting. 14. Start by printing and sharing Always print your work before proofing it. It is much harder to locate problems reading on screen than it is when reading a printed copy. When proofing, start on the last page and work your way forward! This slows you down, and helps you focus on each sentence and paragraph. Otherwise, you might get caught up in the moment of your ideas and overlook problems like omitted words or overused phrases. Homonyms Whenever possible, invite co-workers, or—even better—professional editors, to review your white papers before you distribute them. It’s very difficult to edit your Mistakes your spell- own work. Your brain “knows” what you meant, and will automatically insert checker won’t catch! correct or omitted words. design ≠ deign family ≠ familiar 15. Avoid spell-check mishaps me at ≠ meat Always run your software program’s spell-checker one last time before distribut- to ≠ two ≠ too ing your white paper. Mistakes often show up during last minute changes. threw ≠ through Avoid over-dependence on your software program’s spell-checker. These are great tot he ≠ to the time-savers, but can lead to trouble.Copyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker –– www.designtosellonline.com
  • 9. White Paper Design that Sells design to sell  Homonyms. Watch out for correctly spelled but misused words. As Recommended long as the words are spelled correctly, your spell-checker may not care design resources whether you meant “threw,” “through,” “thorough,” or “trough”. Missing spaces between words can also cause problems. From the thousands of  Proper nouns. Pay particular attention to the proper spelling of client books available, here and prospect names, firm names, and products. Add important names are a few personal to your spell-check dictionary, so they will be accurately and consistently favorites spelled. The elements of  Jargon. Monitor the spelling of terms unique to your field. Don’t as- typographic style sume that your software program has flagged a term because it’s strange: by Robert Bringhurst it could also be misspelled! Editing by Design  Numbers. Pay particular attention to transposed numbers in street ad- Jan V. White dresses and phone numbers. Call all telephone numbers to be sure they’re The Making of a Brand accurate. Double-check all links and e-mail addresses. A case study in publication makeover Maria G. Nozza 16. Fine-tune text formatting www.mygraphicsnotebook.com There’s more to proofing than running the spell-checker. Here are some typograph- Before & After ic mishaps that can undermine the credibility that white paper success requires. Magazine John McWade  Hyphenation. Monitor your software program’s hyphenation. Know www.bamag.com when to turn hyphenation on, and when to turn it off. Always hyphen- ate body copy, for example, but never hyphenate headlines, subheads, or The Official Adobe Print Publishing Guide pull-quotes. Limit the number of hyphenated lines in a row. Avoid typo- www.adobe.com graphic disasters, like “therapist” being hyphenated as “the rapist.” Type and Layout  Line-breaks. Do not allow phrases containing dates and proper nouns Colin Wheildon to split over two lines. Use non-breaking spaces to keep first and last names, cities and states, and month/date/year together on one line. (You may have to occasionally rewrite an earlier line in a paragraph.)  Sentence spacing. Avoid two spaces following periods. This creates distracting “holes” in your text—especially if you are using justified text, i.e., lines of equal length. Use your software program’s “find and replace” feature to locate and replace double spaces with single spaces.  Widows and orphans. Avoid subheads isolated by themselves at the end of a column or page. Make sure paragraphs contain at least 2 lines at the top or bottom of columns or pages. Use your software program’s “keep together” feature to prevent isolated subheads or paragraph frag- ments.Copyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker –– www.designtosellonline.com
  • 10. White Paper Design that Sells design to sell Steps to success There are four steps involved in improving your white paper design skills. These involve making choices, including:  Acknowledge the challenge of design  Assemble the right tools  Invest in the right training  Choose the right people 1. Acknowledge the challenge of design Hardware and software cannot guarantee design success. Design literacy has been a challenge since the earliest days of publishing, in the mid-1980’s.The first widely distributed Prior to that time, graphic design and production was a craft practiced by trained,design book for non-designers full-time, typesetters and graphic designers.was my Aldus Guide to Basic Design was “democratized” by the popularity of the Apple Macintosh computerDesign. Over 300,000 copies and Aldus PageMaker. (The Aldus Corporation was later acquired by Adobe.)were distributed. Suddenly, everyone was a designer! It soon became obvious that the capability to create pages was not synonymous with the ability to “design” attractive, easy-to-read pages. “Ransom note design” became common, characterized by crowded pages contain- ing too many different typefaces. One of the first solutions offered to “non-professional” designers was my book, The Aldus Guide to Basic Design, which Aldus sent to all registered Page- Maker users for many years. (Over 300,000 copies were distributed!) My Aldus Guide to Basic Design was followed by my first book, Looking Good In Print: A Guide to Basic Design for desktop publishing which is still in print. This American best-seller was translated into dozens of languages including Russian, Serbian, Israeli, and Chinese.My Looking Good in Print, the 2. Assemble the right toolsworld’s first best-selling design Today, you can create white papers using both dedicated page layout programsbook, was quickly translated into like AdobeInDesign and Quark XPress, as well as word processing programs,dozens of foreign languages, like Microsoft Word.including Hebrew.Copyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker – 10 – www.designtosellonline.com
  • 11. White Paper Design that Sells design to sellFont buying tips Dedicated page layout software programs—even relatively low-priced programs like Microsoft Publisher—offer significant advantages over word processing pro-Purchasing fonts online as sets grams.can save you money, for example.Ascender Corporation’s Creativity Microsoft Publisher, which runs on the Windows operating system, has alreadyFont Pack, above and below, con- been installed on hundreds of thousands of computers because it has been in-tains a Design Guide I wrote to cluded with many versions of Microsoft Office.accompany the project. Fonts play a major role in white paper success. The right fonts go a long way to- wards making your white papers distinct and easy-to-read. Templates are crucial to white paper success. Templates save time and money by making it possible to “design once, produce often.” Templates are based on repeat- able page layouts that jumpstart your white papers. Templates include text styles which ensure that type will be accurately and consistently formatted. The best templates offer content guidance as well as formatting assistance. Tem- plates should be customized to reflect your firm’s existing corporate identity stan- dards, i.e., colors, layout, typeface, type size, etc. 3. Invest in the right training Today, only a relative handful of those creating white papers have had formal de- sign training. Most white paper creators are “self-taught,” using books and online resources, instead of formal training. Resources for learning more about white paper design:  Online. Sites like www.designtosellonline.com contain numerous free resources, such as two sample chapters from my latest book, Design to Sell: Plan, Write, and Design Great Looking Marketing with Microsoft Publisher. You’ll also find worksheets and templates.  Newsletters. At www.designtosellonline.com, there are copies of a help- ful newsletters you can read and download or subscribe to for free.  E-books. E-books offer tips and expertise in topics too specialized for trade publishing, i.e., books sold in bookstores, are often available direct from the author. Examples include a Content Catalyst containing over 400 topic ideas for articles blogs, newsletters, presentations, speeches, and website incentives.  Teleconferences and webinars. Choose from a variety of free and low cost teleseminars and webinars. Webinars are similar to teleseminars, ex- cept you can view visuals on the screen of your computer, while listening and participating.Copyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker – 11 – www.designtosellonline.com
  • 12. White Paper Design that Sells design to sell 4. Choose the right people RRO G E R O C. PARKER’S NEWSLETTER Vol 2, #5 Choosing the right individuals to prepare your white paper is critical. This in- volves addressing 3 serious issues: design to sell Resources for making design your strategic marketing partner  Keeping projects on schedule. Time is your firm’s most important Newsletters and since you can format your newsletter with website success typefaces, type sizes, colors, and graphics. HTML files take longer than text files to resource. There usually isn’t enough of it to go around. Your white paper Post each issue on your website must appear in a timely manner, yet its creation must not interfere with open, and recipients usually have to resize to attract new traffic and repeat the window before reading. Some recipi- visitors each month ents may also be concerned about open- Offer your One of the easiest ways to build website ing HTML files. the ability of your employees to fulfill their normal, day-to-day, responsi- traffic is to use each issue of your newslet- clients and ter as an incentive to access your site. The biggest disadvantage of both formats, however, is that both alternatives can be prospects a The best way to do this is to create a difficult to print, save, and share. bilities. Assigning white papers to a qualified outsider avoids scheduling “Resource” page on your website contain- choice of ing descriptions of each issue plus links to E-mail attachments individual pages where visitors can read Others distribute newsletters as e-mail at- e-mail formats or download each issue. see example tachments formatted using Adobe Acro- difficulties. bat. Acrobat PDF files, too, suffer from E-mail newsletters several disadvantages. Many associations and firms distribute their newsletters as e-mail messages. Al- Failure to build website traffic. Distribut- though relatively easy to implement, there ing your newsletter as e-mail attachments are disadvantages to this approach: does not offer clients and prospects rea-  Avoiding the “curse of knowledge.” Those associated with developing sons to revisit your website each month. Newsletters sent as text files are easy to prepare and create small files which can Obstacles to delivery. Many e-mails con- be immediately read. Text newsletters, taining attachments are not delivered be- and selling breakthrough products may not be able to write about them however, fail to project a distinct and cause they trigger Spam filters or are fil- memorable image that differentiates your tered out by corporate firewalls. Roger C. Parker has message from your competitor’s. been helping firms Lack of tracking. When you distribute from the prospect’s point of view. A better solution is to have someone and individuals Newsletters sent as HTML newsletters do newsletters as e-mail attachments, you profit from design a better job of branding your message, can’t easily find out if the newsletter was since 1985 ©2006 Roger C. Parker Learn more at www.designtosellonline.com outside the firm interview those involved in creating the new product.Free design newsletter  Seek a balanced perspective. Avoid those who approach white pa-Sign up and receive monthly pers from a “strictly design” or “strictly copy” perspective. “Over-design”design and marketing ideas, must be avoided. It can increase costs and delays and project the imagesuggestions, and tips. of a sales brochure, rather than a credible exchange of helpful informa- tion. White paper message and design must complement each other. Questions to ask & Tips from Roger C. Parker, best-selling $32 million dollar* author Vol. 1 Published No. 3 Profitable Because writing is everyone’s business… Selecting the right individual to work on your white paper involves asking the right questions, such as: How to avoid the first-time authors’ 12 Biggest Mistakes “If you want to change your life,” Harry isn’t accepted is not a good use of your time. 1. Track record. Does the individual have a proven ability to prepare per- It’s up to Beckwith wrote in The Invisible Touch, “write suasive documents that educate and inform readers? a book.” But, writing a book can also be 3. No agent you to tremendously frustrating and unrewarding. You must be represented by a literary Following are the 11 biggest reasons most first- agent. Publishers rarely accept unsolicited promote time authors fail to receive the rewards they book proposals. Unsolicited proposals are are due. frequently returned unread or are simply your book . Time. Will the individual be able to meet project deadlines without in- discarded. 1. Unrealistic expectations The right agent will know exactly which Don’t expect to get rich off your book, publishers might be interested in your even if it’s a success by publishing standards. book. Agents can also negotiate terms more terfering with other responsibilities and tasks that must be completed? The vast majority of books fail to earn out effectively than you. their advance. Instead, develop a personal marketing plan to 4. Weak titles leverage your career off your book. Instead Spend time on the title; titles sell books. of trying to make money on the book itself, The title of your book is like the headline of . Perspective. Can the individual approach the project from an outsider’s use your book to open doors, promote your an advertisement. The title represents your credibility, and build relationships with one and only chance to attract the attention of readers. acquisition editors or bookstore readers. perspective, like prospects will? 2. Writing without a contract Successful titles stress the benefits readers will Never write a book without a signed gain from your book. Successful titles arouse contract. Instead, prepare a polished proposal curiosity and offer solutions. They often and two sample chapters. include consonants and alliteration (repeated *Roger C. Parker‘s “hard” sounds like G, K, P or T). 31 books have sold Publishers are increasingly selective the titles 4. Design background. Does the individual understand the principles of 1.6 million copies they accept. Often, less than 1 in 20 titles in 37 languages proposed are published. Writing a book that visual design, avoiding the costs and delays incurred when others must ©2006 Roger C. Parker Learn more at www.publishedandprofitable.comFree writing newsletter format the white paper?Sign up for free monthly ideas 5. Track record. Can they prove their expertise? Do you recognize any ofabout planning, writing, and their clients? Do they have credible references?promoting a book to build yourbusiness. 6. Samples. Have you read any of the white papers they have prepared? Do you like the style?Copyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker – 12 – www.designtosellonline.com
  • 13. White Paper Design that Sells design to sell How I can help For over 20 years, I’ve been helping firms like Adobe, Apple Computer, Amaz- ingMail, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Mindjet, Paper Direct, Yamaha, and others, educate their market. Since the earliest days of the desktop publishing revolution, I have been helping clients clarify, educate, and simplify. My assistance includes:  Message development, including topic selection and organization.  Copywriting, including sales and marketing materials, training, etc.  Critiques, a fresh perspective on your project’s copy and design.  Templates and training to jumpstart future projects.  Design training and workshops, delivered online and in person. Let me help you and your firm profit from the power of white papers used as marketing and sales tools. My “dual major” as a copywriter and designer gives me an uncommon ability to help you with your white papers. Looking Good in Print is the one to buy when you’re buying only one! NY Times L.R. Shannon PO Box 697 Dover, NH 0382 Phone: 603-866-6046 Email: rogercparker@aol.com Websites: www.publishedandprofitable.com www.designtosellonline.com Roger C. Parker is the “great simplifier!” Cathy Colletto, Marketing Manager, Mindjet CorporationCopyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker – 13 – www.designtosellonline.com
  • 14. Announcing…The End of ParalyzingWriter’s Block Forever!Nothing can turn off the flow of ideas faster and with morechilling precision than writers block.But, there is a cure! 400+ ideas to sparkIntroducing Roger C. Parker’s Content Catalyst, the cure for writers block. your creativity  Ideas for articles, blogs, andJust imagine always having something relevant and captivating to say to your newslettersreaders, web visitors and marketing prospects.  Definitions, descriptions, andYou probably already know the message, all you need is a “hook” — an idea, examplesconcept, or title — to speed you on your way.  Create website content to at- tract search engine traffic andThe Content Catalyst reduces writing to a “paint by numbers” exercise. Once increase e-mail sign-upsyou have your topic in place and the keywords where you want them, you’ll beon an unstoppable path to success as your project seems to fall into place.  Never be at a loss for words if asked to speak or presentCreate content like a machine Users give 2 Thumbs Up!The input is the sum of your business-related knowledge; the output is a steadystream of winning customer-oriented communications. The Content Catalyst is, by far, the most useful book I’ve ever purchased to help me createMake a difference in your business right now. content. I’ll never have to worry about topics for articles, e-books,Take the dramatic step forward by ordering the Content Catalyst risk free. newsletters or membership sitesJust click here to begin. again. Ryan Lee Fitness EntrepreneurClick here to banish writer’s block from your vocabulary! http://www.ryanlee.com There is nothing like your Con-Your Content Catalyst is a constant fountain of ideas and projects. You tent Catalyst anywhere.are good at showing people easier ways to do things and saving them Catherine Morleytime. Your Content Catalyst is an example of something each of us www.designers-who-blog.comneeds. Kip Gienau IndonesiaCopyright © 2012 Roger C. Parker www.designtosellonline.com