Vector illustration for the blog post Case Study Design That Sells

Case Study Design That Sells

Let’s talk about Case Study design. 

Everyone knows that a Case Study is an excellent marketing tool. However, if your Case Study design is just blocks of text, or the layout is unprofessional, no one is going to read it. That’s a fact.

Seriously, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes when assessing the quality of your Case Study design. Would you want to read it? If the answer is no, then pay some attention to your Case Study design before distributing it.

Most of the resources on the Internet relating to Case Studies focus on how to write and market them. There’s little information on how to design them to get the greatest impact. 

Well, that’s what this post is all about一how to design Case Studies that sell.

If you do the things I’m sharing with you, more of your prospects will take the few minutes necessary to read your Case Study. They’ll be as impressed with the design as they are with the content.

Here are the things you should do to create an attractive, easy-to-read Case Study design:

  • Follow Your Design Guidelines
  • Use Signposts
  • Make It Easy to Skim
  • Use a Font That’s Easy to Read
  • Include Images
  • Insert Charts and Graphs
  • Leverage White Space
  • Add Color

Follow Your Design Guidelines

When considering all of the aforementioned recommendations, remember that your design guidelines take precedence in your Case Study design. If your company has invested in creating formal design guidelines or a branding document, that means everything that you design should follow those guidelines—even your Case Study.

Your guidelines will tell you which font to use, what size the font should be, how the logo should be used, and what colors you have to work with. Even though the guidelines are prescriptive, you can use them as a starting point, and they won’t stifle your creativity. 

Also, design guidelines give you confines in which you work and make your design more focused and intentional. They actually can save time to have guidelines in place because they remove so much guesswork.

Use Signposts In Your Case Study Design

If you’re using the traditional Problem/Solution/Results format for your Case Study, be sure to have headers that actually say “Problem,” “Solution,” and “Results.” If you don’t clearly delineate these sections with these signposts, the reader will get lost when reading your Case Study, no matter how compelling the text may be.

If you’re taking the narrative approach, it’s even more crucial that you have good signposts. Both traditional and narrative structures tell the story of how your solution helped your client or customer achieve amazing results. But a narrative structure cries out for signposts because your Case Study could be one long story with no breaks. 

Your signposts should be well-thought-out headers or headlines that guide readers through the story. They should indicate or tease what readers can expect to find in the following paragraphs. 

You don’t need to get fancy with your signposts. Just make sure they are there and that they’re meaningful.

Make It Easy to Skim

Making your Case Studies easy to skim is critical. Signposts help the reader move through your Case Study design or jump around if they choose. But making your Case Study easy to skim requires more than snappy headlines.

Most readers will skim the page, reading headlines, opening sentences, and summarizing paragraphs.

What does that mean for your Case Study design? In short:

  • Write meaningful headlines.
  • Create powerful opening sentences for each section.
  • Keep paragraphs short and focused.
  • Craft summarizing paragraphs that actually summarize the text that came before it.
  • Use bullet points and lists.

Use a Font That’s Easy to Read

When choosing a font for your Case Study design, keep it simple. Avoid fancy fonts at all costs. I recommend sticking with traditional fonts, whether they be serif or non-serif.

There are several factors that make a font easy to read:

  • Serif or Sans-Serif. A serif is the small stroke, or “feet,” that extend off the lines of each character. Good examples of easy-to-read serif fonts are Georgia and Times New Roman. If there are no small strokes or feet, then the font is sans-serif. Good examples of easy-to-read sans-serif fonts are Helvetica, Arial, Veranda, Open Sans, and Lato.
  • Spacing. How close each individual character, words, and lines are together makes a font easier or difficult to read. Here, you must be concerned with kerning, tracking, and leading. If the spacing is too close together, it can be hard to discern one letter from another. If the spacing is too spread out, it can be hard for readers to put letters together in their minds to form words.
  • Font Size. If the font size is too small, many readers may give up because they can’t see the words. If the font size is too large, your Case Study design will come off as unprofessional. Keep the font size for your body text between 9 and 12 points.

Include Images In Your Case Study Design

When used appropriately, images can help readers understand what you’re saying in your text. Essentially, images illustrate or explain your message.

Also, images help break up difficult-to-read blocks of text. In the same way you use periods and paragraphs to separate points in your text, you can use images to separate points in your text to make your text easier to understand.

When selecting an image, ask yourself whether the image adds value to your Case Study design. If the answer is no, then don’t use it.

Insert Charts and Graphs

One of the best ways to explain something that’s in your text is to use charts or graphs. When you turn text or data into visualizations, that helps the reader better understand your message.

No one wants to read lots of numbers, but when numbers are a part of a chart or graph, they’re easy to digest. Similarly, the reader might struggle with a complex idea. Turn that idea into a diagram or flowchart to give the reader a better chance at understanding the message.

Leverage White Space

White space, or negative space, is the area around lines, paragraphs, images, charts, and graphs. Think of this space as you would think of silence in a musical composition. Without the appropriate use of silence, music becomes noise. Without the use of white space, the design is unstructured and hard to follow.

The space doesn’t literally need to be white. It can be a texture, pattern, or color. When used well, white space transforms your Case Study design by making it more aesthetically appealing. What your readers don’t want to see is lots of graphical elements clumped together. What they do want to see is graphic elements that have space on the page to breathe and own the space they are in.  

Add Color to Your Case Study Design

Regardless of content, you need to add color to your Case Study design. The days of black text on a white background are long gone. No one wants to read a document like that. Even a newspaper—an historically black-and-white medium—adds color to make the page more attractive. 

You can add color to your Case Study design in the following ways:

  • Incorporate images, charts, and graphs to illustrate the content. 
  • Add on-brand icons to emphasize the results. 
  • Provide a background color or gradient to groupings of text, such as callout boxes, sidebars, and even your Problem, Solution, and Results sections. 

That’s It!

Full-length readers are earned. If you pay close attention to your Case Study design, it will be the powerful marketing tool that it is supposed to be.

Not willing or able to handle the design yourself? Then let SuccessKit handle your Case Study creation process from concept to completed design. Simply reach out to our customer service team at [email protected].

Wilton Blake

Wilton has been a writer his entire professional life. He has been an appellate attorney at a large law firm, a newspaper publisher, a marketing director for a nonprofit organization, and a freelance writer specializing in White Papers and Case Studies. Wilton is now the Director of Content at SuccessKit.

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