Tips for Designing One-Pagers

Sep 21, 2020  |  By Jessica Little  |  

One-pagers or one-sheeters, depending on whether or not you are using both sides, usually share the primary function of distilling key information and presenting it on a single sheet of paper in a way that is both brief, and easy to understand. However, getting that information into a digestible, and aesthetically pleasing format can often be a struggle for a variety of reasons (e.g. too much copy, no available imagery, WAY too much copy, printing limitations, “Seriously, we are going to have to cut some of this copy”, etc.). Regardless of what challenge your specific information presents, there are a few things you can do to ensure a successful one-pager design.

Tell a Story
Read through the copy doc with a critical eye and see if you can organize the information so it tells a story. You want the information to be laid out in a way that leads the viewer through the page naturally.

Make it Digestible
Similar to cutting your food into bite-sized pieces, it is a lot easier to digest smaller pieces of copy, than something that is wall to wall text.

  • Chunks – Create separate containers or formatting styles for chunks of information that go together. Maybe the background color changes, or one section looks more like an infographic, consider ways to make them look unique while still fitting together.
  • Subheads – Give your chunks subheads. These will anchor the reader’s eye to the specific sections, and again, make the information more digestible.

Make sure there is enough contrast between different levels of text, colors, etc. Like the subheads, larger text, or brighter graphics will help anchor the viewer’s eye. If there is not enough contrast it will end up looking messy.

Incorporate Graphic Elements
Don’t only use text. Although images may not always be available, there are other ways to add visual interest to your one-pager. Look for opportunities to add icons, call out numbers, and incorporate infographics, or graphic elements.

You Aren’t a Magician
Push back if there is too much copy. A good rule of thumb is a little less than one page of 12pt copy typed into a document equals one side of a one-pager. Know the limitations and give yourself room to make it look great. Designing a one-page is like doing a puzzle. However, unlike a puzzle there is no go-to solution or answer that will work for everyone. You are going to have to try different things to get everything to fit, but having a few go-to techniques will hopefully make the process a little more enjoyable, and ensure a successful design in the end

Additional Helpful Resources:
If you don’t already have a color palette to work with, Coolors is a great resource. It randomly generates color palettes with a click of your spacebar, and allows you to lock colors, move them around, view as a gradient, etc.

If you don’t have access to a stock photography site but need images for your one pager, there are some great free stock photo websites. One of my personal favorites is Picjumbo, which is searchable and has a great selection.

Now you’re armed & dangerous and ready to tackle the world. Happy one-paging!

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