Master the one-pager — How to design a one-pager in 5 steps

November 18, 2023
7 min read
Illustrated by Brandon Chin using Firefly
"Clarity is the ultimate sophistication."
Colin Powell

One-pagers are a great way to communicate your brand's value proposition in a concise and effective way, but they can be tricky to design.

Have you ever been asked to design a one-pager but didn't know where to start?

Don't worry, I'm here to help! In this article, I'll share five tips to help you create a one-pager that is both informative and visually appealing.

  1. Understand the use case
  2. Understand the content
  3. Use a grid
  4. Iterate often
  5. Know when to stop

1. Understand the use case 🧠

What is the purpose of your one-pager?

Who is your audience?

Consider the purpose, audience and information.

My use case was designing a letter-sized document for the marketing team. I have five pages of text to fit on one page, and the text doesn't include any visuals or branding. This means I need to add more elements and do it without losing any important information.

2. Understand the content 🤔

Read and understand the content of your one-pager carefully. This will help you to identify the most important information and to organize it in a way that is easy to read.

Think about the relationships between the different pieces of information. How are they connected? What is the most important information for your audience to know?

The more you understand the content, the better you will able to communicate it.

Understanding the content helps me with brainstorming design ideas, and creating visual metaphors. This helps me tap into my design knowledge and come up with creative solutions.

It's important to be able to edit the text. I highlight the most important information, revise the text, and send it back to the author for approval.

3. Use a grid 📏

A grid is a basic design principle — it can help you to create a balanced and organized layout. It is a system of horizontal and vertical lines used to place your content on the page.

Grids are a design superpower for everyone, from first-year students to experienced pros.

Using a grid will help you to keep your design organized and to avoid making unnecessary design choices.

Hmm, these don't feel right.
This is the one!

4. Iterate often (and quickly) 🔶🔴🟦

Don't be afraid to experiment with different layouts and designs. Once you have a draft(s), get feedback from others and make changes as needed.

I did 10 iterations, trying out different layouts. Most teams find it helpful to have something to respond to, even if it's just a rough draft. High-fidelity mockups are great for these conversations. I chatted with our designers and writers, and together we were able to improve the organization of the information by making the sections clearer and adding labels. We also freed up more white space by cutting down on the text.

It's important to be able to communicate your ideas clearly and receive feedback openly.

At our office, we have a saying: "Eat our own dog food." It means we follow the advice we give to our clients. In this case, putting the audience at the center of the story. Switching the words from "about us" to "about them" is a big step and it's essential for successful business storytelling.

Part of my process is variations!

5. Know when to stop 🛑

I often have to sift through a lot of ideas and feedback from different stakeholders. It's important to decide what to keep and what to ditch. Try using your own mental checklist to decide when a design is ready.

For instance:

  • the design has a clear information hierarchy
  • is consistent with the brand's style
  • is proofread

The stakeholders and I are happy with it, so I'm going to proofread it again and then call it done!

The final version.

Bonus tip: Have fun 🎈

You made it to the end! As a reward, here's a bonus tip: have fun! I had a blast creating this one-pager, and I think it's our best effort yet at telling the fassforward story.

Good luck with your own one-pager!

A special thanks to everyone who worked on this: Jess Gozur, Eugene Yoon, Andreas Pichaeli, Shannon Cullen, and Gavin McMahon.

Brandon Chin is a Creative Director at fassforward. He uses his skills in design, data, and strategy to transform complex ideas into simple ones. He has experience in art, data visualization, and storytelling. Brandon Chin is a lifelong learner.

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