Use These Tips To Put Together a Killer White Paper People Would Want To Read

6 min read

white paper guide

White papers are considered a market staple of the business world. When rightfully done, white papers are capable not only increase your authority and solving issues for your clients and stakeholders, but they can become an incredible lead focus.

Although, what if you’ve managed to build a white paper and it isn’t getting the results you want? If you are an expert at marketing, you most likely already know how to type up a white paper filled with engrossing content. However, what about your white paper design?

Even if you manage to stuff your white paper with fascinating, convincing content, a dull design can often fail to reach the mark. This guide will help you build a white paper that actually grabs the reader, awe clients and capturing sales leads, even if you’ve never designed one in the past. 

What is a white paper?

A white paper is known as an in-depth informational report that details all of the complex concepts and provides a persuasive solution to the issue at hand. White papers are more singular in focus. They’re made to solve a specific issue for the reader and develop brand trust in the process. 

White papers are also heavily research-oriented and vastly considered to be a valuable resource. As a matter of fact, Equinet released a report that a massive 75% of B2B would share information about their company in exchange for a white paper. 

Writing a white paper that works

If the white paper isn’t built with a captivating design, then the paper will most likely not going to work as well as you want it to. Like any other type of content, a lot of your white paper success all comes down to how it looks. Regrettably, creating a white paper can seem like a daunting task if you’re the only person, or if you lack the in-house talent to create it. This is why it’s a great idea to start with a white paper template. Not only will you be saving a good chunk of money by doing it yourself, but you’ll also gain the confidence of creating your own visually appealing reports. 

Let’s dive deep into designing your white paper. 

1. Develop an appealing white paper cover page

Don’t dismiss the effectiveness of a striking cover page. Similar to the cover of a book, an enthralling cover page will lure people to open and read the content. At first glance, the reader should get the right idea of what the white paper will be about. Use a picture that mirrors the theme of your white paper, or design a visual with icons. 

2, Implement photos in your white paper layout

Knowing how to properly build a white paper which reaches your readers is crucial. For instance, when choosing images for your white paper, search for people who bear a resemblance to your target users. This helps communicate what your white paper is relevant to the people who you’re trying to attract. 

3. Use imaginative backgrounds

A straightforward design maneuver to make the white paper even more engaging is to use an imaginative background. You can choose a simple background pattern to include some visual effects to your white paper layout, or use a stylish color gradient. Regardless if you have any designing experience, choosing the appropriate background image can instantly make your white paper seem more impeccable and professional. 

4. Highlighting Important takeaways

White papers will usually come jam-packed with information within the pages. The truth is many people aren’t going to take the time to completely read the paper from front to back. Consider highlighting the more important takeaways that will encourage them to continue reading the white paper. Or simply outline exactly what they will be reading about. Because these takeaways are placed right on the front page, it’s hard for anyone to miss them, which is ideal for you.

5. Ensure your page numbers stand out

When you are developing the white paper, it’s crucial to keep your readers in mind. Don’t simply think about what they wish to read, but how they want to read the paper. Your white paper isn’t the latest episode of The Walking Dead, so it’s unlikely that every reader is going to sit down and read every single page as they would a typical novel. In reality, there’s a high chance they’ll most likely want to skip ahead towards a specific chapter of your white paper which holds their interest. 

Marking your pages with numbers will make it easy to read and be appreciated by the reader who is trying to find a specific piece of information in your white paper. You can cause the page numbers to pop up by using a bold font or a color block background. Another method is to use decorative fonts for small accents will give the white paper an interesting design. 

6. Use charts and pictograms

A common issue that marketers and consultants deal with when developing a white paper is figuring out ways to make data more interesting and simple to understand. A great solution to this problem is to visualize your data by utilizing an assortment of various charts and pictograms. 

The types of charts you’ll be using all comes down to the type of data you’re visualizing. For instance, if you plan to show the revenue growth that happened over time, then a line graph is ideal. Or you could simply use a pie chart to show pieces of a whole. 

Don’t simply stick to a single chart or pictogram. Try to use a combination of both bar graphs and pie charts to spice things up a bit. 

7. Include your brand into the white paper

To expand your brand recognition, you should maintain a constant branding all over your marketing collateral. Make sure you incorporate the logo, brand color palettes, and fonts into the white paper design. Come up with some creative ideas to integrate your branding. 

8. Use high-quality pictures with coherent design

Illustrations, icons, and photos play a crucial role in how effectively you communicate the information of your white paper. Don’t simply use images to decorate your paper. Instead, use the pictures to illustrate the vital concepts, to make information easily digestible, and to convey the mood. 

9. Highlight quotes using large fonts

This is a design strategy you’ve most likely seen in a magazine or news publication. Well, you should know that this works fantastically for white paper design as well. Use some highly impactful and compelling quotes and make them stand out from the rest of the text by making them big and bold. 

Not only will this grab the reader’s attention to the quote, but it also gives your page design a more striking visual. 

10. Icons are useful for emphasizing section headers

One of the main objectives of your white paper is to communicate information in a pleasant way. But plenty of businesses usually end up developing something that can be found in a college textbook. Which is something no one wants to read, especially college students.

Studies conducted by TechSmith revealed that office workers only consume information 7% faster when they are given text combined with visuals, against just plain text. When developing your white paper, search for opportunities to make the text much simpler to scan with visuals. A really simple way to attract the important factors is to place an icon beside the text. 

11. Use neutral colors for technology-oriented white paper

If you are planning to develop a white paper that introduces a brand new technology or explain tech-based solutions to a problem then consider designing the white paper with a modern and minimalistic look that appeals to tech enthusiasts. Choose a neutral background color such as white or light grey. Afterward, pick visuals with similarly lustrous color schemes. Another great way to include some visual interest to the white paper layout is by using an accent color that you can use to make certain parts of the page pop out. 

12.  Use a visual motif

A visual motif is known as the visual factor that is repeated throughout the design. When you’re developing a multi-page document such as a white paper, your pages should have a cohesive appearance and flow. 

To select the appropriate motif for your white paper design, consider the themes reflected on your white paper. Is the white paper a subject on social media? Then a motif of speech bubbles could work. Is the white paper topic mainly about establishing a self-driving car? Then a race track motive can work well. Or you can rely on a simple shape motif for the rest of the white paper design. This method is more subtle but can still pave a cohesive and well made white paper. 

13. Break up pieces of text with visuals

When you are building your white paper pages, turn your storytelling skills on. Consider this, what kind of motion do you want for this report? Where can you use visuals to emphasize key points? Where can you illustrate the idea?

One of the most common mistakes new designers tend to make is filling the page with too much text, rather than breaking them up and giving it space to breathe. 

Don’t hesitate on using a huge piece of your page, or the entire thing for that matter, for photos Images allow the eyes to have a chance to rest and help reinforce the information. 

Visual headers are another fantastic method for breaking up massive walls of text while still having the visuals serve a purpose. You can develop your own illustrations with the help of icons, they can make it for some really interesting and appealing headers. 

14. Make the glossary bold and colorful

Like any other design project, it’s crucial to start on the right path. You can pull this off by developing a glossary for your white paper. Consider this piece like a map that outlines what your white paper will be covering. For instance, you can use a bold color that brings attention to the glossary. This will make sure that the reader will see it, and use it to navigate through the white paper. It makes the white paper design engaging and convinces more people to read through it.

15. Add tables and boxes to emphasize crucial parts

Visualizing information or data isn’t only limited to including graphs throughout the white paper. You can also have sections of important bits of information using tables and boxes. You can use these tables to organize important points and takeaways from each main section. 


Use this guide to help develop your own unique and brand-appropriate white paper design. Understanding how to write a white paper that appeals to your target audience every step of the way will not only help you generate the appropriate response to their questions but also guide the overall design to make it more approachable.

As always, if you’re looking to put together a killer white paper, then don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’ll take good care of you!

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