When you think of an ebook or a white paper, you might picture a long-form report driven by text. There might be a summary or key takeaway section, but in general you’re expecting to settle in for a lengthy read. However, today’s best ebook and white paper designs move beyond that expectation. They seek to trim text to the key details when appropriate. Further, they use visuals and layout design techniques to add interest to the white paper or ebook, and to reduce the reliance on text. 

What’s more, these aren’t just any visuals or layouts. Top ebook examples use custom designs from cover to cover, never recycling elements from other clients. The result? A design that’s completely yours, crafted specifically for your brand and your core audience.

Beautiful white paper and ebook designs might even draw from approaches beyond the traditional print or digital book. Here are several powerful forms that your ebooks and white papers can take.

1. A Long-Form White Paper with the Best Design Approach

Infographic annual report white paper layout with data visualization and designs of buildings

The Visual-First Method prioritizes a shift in the way organizations approach communications and content, placing visual content front and center. One of the most impactful opportunities for a company to introduce visual elements is in reports, be they annual reports, white papers, or ebooks. These traditionally lengthy releases may be hard to skim, time-consuming to read cover-to-cover, and difficult to draw key insights from. 

The best way to tackle these ebook and white paper graphic design challenges is through custom layout and cover-to-cover design. Strong visual cues help organize and categorize key information and break up long blocks of text. Ultimately, they also allow for better understanding at a glance.

Sinai Urban Health Institute implemented just these measures when building reports on community health and gun violence. This approach allowed them to reach diverse and critical audiences and provide them with key information for decision-making and action.

2. A Custom Media Kit with Cover & Layout Design

GeekWire Media kit white paper image with data visualization

When it comes to your media kit, clarity and engagement are key. A confusing layout, all-text approach, or boring design could mean lost opportunities. 

Instead, turn to visual content to enhance the effectiveness of your pitch. In this way, you can ensure that your brand identity shines through in the aesthetic choices. Further, you can share information about your audience through illustrations and data visualization. The resulting design will quickly and clearly inform viewers on key reasons to advertise with you.

GeekWire’s media kit, along with their full campaign of visual content, incorporates their signature colors and bold typography with strategically formatted written content to both highlight key callouts and share full details.

3. An Interactive Alternative to the Traditional eBook or White Paper

Interactive infographic header for Solutions Project white paper alternative showing coal factory next to wind energy station

Many white papers and reports have sets of similar data across different categories. For example, the same metrics separated by region, organization, year, or other comparative system. While the collective results can be showcased on summary pages or specific callouts or sections, interactive content is a great approach to allow your readers to quickly compare and contrast data and information.

The Solutions Project was looking for a way to share energy mix information across states. Every state would compare the same metrics, but the values for each would change. The resulting interactive experience offers 2 levels of insight. By hovering, users can see a snapshot of detail. And by clicking, they see a whole new volume of information about each state.

4. A Print Book Also Available in Digital eBook Format

Print book and digital ebook on tablet with black background, title, and data visualization elements

As you can see, long-form content hasn’t disappeared. There will always be value in written narratives, and audiences who want to curl up with a good book. But there are ways to take advantage of digital media and visual content for this type of interaction, as well.

Today, many print books are available for purchase and use on e-readers or even on your computer or phone. The debut book from Killer Visual Strategies founder and CEO Amy Balliett is available in both formats, letting readers select the format they like best as well as accommodating 2 different price points. This flexibility allows a wider audience to learn the principles of visual communication.

An eBook & White Paper Design Is as Important as Your Content

What you say and how you say it are always important to how your message will be perceived. With quality visual content, what you show and how you show it can add to your message. So consider white paper or ebook design services for the best cover-to-cover layout of your next ebook or white paper.