I was in a meeting one day at a customer’s office. She was projecting her laptop and trying to find a document to show me. She opened and read multiple files before closing them (because they were not what she was looking for).
Then she opened one and closed it instantly. I asked “what happened?” almost hurt that she didn’t read it a little. She said, “oh, it’s an emdash document, I can tell by the way it looks. The doc I’m looking for is not yours.”
Ah! My obsession for making sure we consistently send all our documents in a particular style actually pays off!
Whether it’s MS Word or Google Docs, I have a basic style template set up. Paragraph font, 3 headings, title, quote and borders for images/tables. Set it up once and you can use it forever. It’s very simple and super convenient.
It also goes a long way in showing that you’re professional.
It controls the user (reader) experience. You can highlight what you think is important. You can guide them through the unravelling narrative.
It helps the reader find what they need faster. Let’s say you consistently put the source for all images/data for tables as a link right under it. Over time, your reader will know where to look.
Especially in cases where you don’t send your stuff on a letter head or add a logo, it serves as the representation of your brand. It makes you recognisable.
It makes design briefing easy.
In fact, the font and colours you choose might show a little more of you than you think. For client work though, I go for Arials and greys only.
So, the next time you’re sending anything to the client, think a bit about the form in which you’re sending. Trust me, it plays a huge part.