Use good quality, uncoated paper 

There are many types of paper used for printing and each one reacts differently to ink. One consideration when choosing paper is how much light the paper reflects (glare). 

The best quality paper is uncoated or matt, as it is the best way to avoid glare. Additionally, the surface takes ink well, which improves legibility. 

Avoid shadowing by using heavier paper

Make sure your paper is heavy enough to avoid ‘shadowing’. Shadowing is where text and images printed on one side of a page can be seen through the other side of the paper. Ask your printer or supplier for advice when choosing paper, as some paper is more transparent than others.

Bind documents so they can be opened out flat

Use binding that allows the document to open out flat for ease of reading. This will make the document easier to hold while reading and easier to set flat on a surface. This is particularly useful for members of the public with dexterity difficulties or those using text-to-speech reading devices.


Half Canadian binding is an example of binding that allows the document to  open out flat and also allows for lettering on the spine for the title of the document so it can be identified when shelved.

Font and Paragraphs Checklist

  • Use at least 12-point font size and a clear font.
  • Use bold or bigger size font to make important points stand out.
  • Avoid using features such as underlining, italics and BLOCK CAPITALS.
  • Use left aligned text only, do not justify text.
  • Avoid splitting a word between two lines.
  • Limit each paragraph to one idea.

Formatting and Layout Checklist

  • Use clear and accessible formatting to make information easy to find. For example, use headings, sub-headings and a table of contents.
  • Use a consistent layout for recurring features (such as page numbers and headings).
  • Make good use of white space so your message stands out.
  • Use clear spacing:
  1.    Text should be a minimum of single-spaced.
  2.     White space should separate paragraphs.
  3.    There should be a wide, clear space separating text columns.

Document Design Checklist Colours, Images, Graphs and Visuals

  • Use images, visuals and graphs that are relevant to the text.
  • Images should not break text flow.
  • Use images to support the main body of text and ensure they are accompanied by alternative (Alt) text in the alt attribute.
  • Use colours with good contrast between text and background.


  • Use good quality, uncoated or matt paper.
  • Avoid shadowing by using heavier paper. Use paper that weighs at least 90 grams per square meter (GSM).
  • Bind documents so that they can be opened our flat.