A strong cover page sets the stage! Often, we leave it plain, cold & too formal.  In a multimedia rich world we can avoid boredom and get excited about the content (cover page introduces you to this).

Unfortunately, humans have a tendency to have a first opinion within 30 seconds of seeing things and this will lead to a judgement or opinion that they form within their mind. So do not underestimate the value of spending extra time on that cover page.

The next part is for you to either reverse that judgement (if it is a bad one) or to enhance, foster and cement it (if it is a good one).

Thus, ensure you spend some time on that cover page and do not have a "one template fits all"  attitude.

At a minimum, create a theme for your cover page based on the:

  • receiver, 
  • sender,
  • content, 
  • presenting technology (if applicable), 
  • and constraints (e.g. time, money and quality).

A sample cover page could include:
  • Header/Footer:  this is variable, examples of what to include are: Title, website, sending company name, receiving company name, * Confidential * wording, 
  • Content:  be short, specific, this is your landing page for the people you are trying to present something to, align the body of the document to the type of cover page you need to have
  • Confidential or Proprietary Notice: depending on how confidential or how much IP is involved, have a simple one liner or include a legal statement
  • Logos (do not need to be drawing attention, subtle logo in the right space is key (header/footer or embedded somewhere on the page)
  • Diagrams - this is low hanging fruit, people are visual and seldom do I see an image, yet it is very easy to do, it can be a descriptive image that related to the content, or it can simply be a background image (eg.  drops of water if the content is water management).

Other key things or guidelines include:
  • Title
  • Subject
  • For (company and if possible a name)
  • From
  • Date
  • Slogan (if applicable)

The items below depend on the size of the document (for small files you may incorporate them directly on the cover page or if a large document these types of things should be on the second page):
  • Version Control
  • Contact Information (address, tel, email)
  • Controlling Author
  • TM or copy right statements

A final note, do not be afraid to have your cover page in a different font then the rest of the body.  This also shows a bit of flair and can gain more attention.

A few links below touch on this topic, but surprisingly not a lot out there...

Title page creation in MS Word (visual)

Do's and Don'ts

Sample cover pages