A Visual Design Guide for Building Media Kits
Updated: Oct 28
A media kit is a document that outlines a creator's mission statement, social media metrics, work/sponsorship history, content overview, contact information, rates, and other pertinent information to their business.
Media kits are essential for broadcasters at any level in their career. Much like a resume, a well-designed media kit will help content creators acquire sponsorships, deliver an elevator pitch, and break the ice with companies that hire talent. Clean design is vital to stand out above the crowd. The recipient often has many kits to read, so designing an effective media kit that clearly and concisely features critical information on your channel could be the difference between being considered or overlooked.
*I want to preface this guide by saying that advice in content creation is often subjective, and what may work for you may not necessarily work for someone else. That is totally OK. What I will focus on are design principles that are universally accepted and are excellent guidelines in terms of legibility, visual hierarchy, typography, layout, etc.*
This guide will not cover what content should go in your media kit. For example, I won't discuss if you should include your social media metrics, rates, or dream brand deals. I am sharing tips on deciding the presentation, visual tone, and layout strategy.
Let's get into it!
Develop the Concept
First, think about why you are creating this document. What do you want the reader to know about you the instant they begin scanning for information? Envision what emotion you want to convey. Do you want to highlight that you are organized and professional? Maybe you want to share your wholesome and chaotic side? Relate that concept for the content you create and your online presence. You want this document to highlight your strengths as a creator so that you can secure brand deals. It needs to clearly communicate your talent and brand. Once you have direction based on the ideals you want to convey, you will be better prepared to decide things like tone of language, typefaces*, color, and visual hierarchy.
Clean and Easy
Imagine you are hiring for a sponsored gig. You post a casting call on Twitter and receive 342 responses to the tweet. Each candidate passionately states why they are the best fit and attaches a media kit to the post. Every single media kit has a unique look. Which responses do you read first? Use that scenario as motivation because anything you can do as a creator to make your media kit simple to read will give you a ton of bang for your buck.
What does clean design look like? Giving breathing room between visual elements is one aspect of creating clean design. Packing text and images to close together creates clutter and disrupts visual hierarchy. Your reader will inevitably get lost.
Colors and patterns should work together. Have you tried to read text that was laid on top of a vibrant, bold pattern? What about red text that seems to vibrate on a purple background? It can become hard to see. Why does this happen? When text is laid on top of a pattern, the defining shape of the letterform can get lost.
For example, imagine trying to decipher if a letter is an "f" or a "p," but you can't tell because there is a busy pattern under the text. These elements must be carefully balanced regarding how vibrant or busy one is over the other. The same goes for color. When color values are equally strong among each color used, it becomes harsh on the eyes and will be subconsciously overwhelming for the reader. Try to have one element brighter or softer than the other.
Consider keeping the layout simple by utilizing an accent color to highlight important information. Color can be powerful and dictate the entire mood of the document. Color can and should be used to highlight your brand, but make sure they work harmoniously. A good rule of thumb is the 60/30/10 rule. 60% of the document is a predominant color, 30% is a secondary color, and 10% is an accent color. You can do this by using a color wheel or an online tool that generates color palettes. My favorite tool is Coolors.
Have you collaborated on many sponsorships and want to list them by adding all the logos to your document? Instead of a jarring mishmash of color from every brand logo you worked with, consider using a monochrome version of each logo so that they don't clash.
Essentially, there are a multitude of opportunities and marketing managers excited to work with you. The easier you can make their job, the better you will stand out. If they are bogged down by visual distractions, chances are your information will get passed over.
Hierarchy - Look Here or There?
Visual hierarchy is a method of organization used to lay out various elements on a page. A key strategy is understanding that bold text or art guides the eye to the most pertinent information, and subdued components are meant to support those pieces of information.
Think about how you would use headlines vs body copy text (body copy = paragraphs of text). You may pick a bold or larger typeface that will lead your eye to a particular point first. Through the rest of the document, you may choose a smaller or lighter typeface (or font within the same type family) so that your eye reads the supporting information second. If you have elements that compete for attention, you risk the order being confusing.
Bold text, accent colors, and underlines are great tools. However, using them sparingly but strategically will get your viewer's eye around the page. Your mission is to have the eye constantly flow around and through the layout of the document. If you find yourself getting stuck somewhere on the page, consider revising, as that may mean there is an imbalance. Having empty spaces for the eyes to rest is OK! Use this balance to your advantage, and don't feel pressure to fill every single inch of the page.
Typography is an art that can take a lifetime to master. Understanding how letterforms convey emotion can be daunting for someone who needs to pump out a document that conveys their broadcasting personality. Will a sans-serif typeface capture your lighthearted brand, or do you need something a bit more serious? Consider the typeface you choose carefully, and maybe check out a font folio to get an idea of letterforms that mesh with your brand.
Choosing a decorative typeface, also known as a display font, might be a fun idea. Tread carefully because these typefaces could cause the document to become illegible. Utilize decorative typefaces for large, bold headlines or for very short sentences.
Too many typefaces are like too many cooks in the kitchen; no one will lead the group, and your brand message will get lost. I suggest 2-3 different typefaces maximum. If you need more variation, use fonts within the type family. Do research on what typefaces work well together and choose typefaces that play off of each other. A good starting resource for finding cohesive type pairings can be found here on Canva. For example, a bold slab serif could work for a headline, and a san serif typeface could work for the body.
When typing a paragraph longer than three sentences, refrain from using centered alignment (I cannot stress this one enough). Center alignment is for two to three lines of text at most. Using centered alignment creates visual fatigue as the eye has to constantly search for where each line begins and ends.
Rag right (also known as left-aligned) should be the default (or rag left, also known as right-aligned, depending on your language since some languages are written from right to left vs left to right).
Before I introduce the last typography tip, I want to define an important term.
Kerning - is the space between each letter. Design programs either use optical kerning or metric kerning. Optical Kerning adjusts lettering between characters based on their shape. Metric kerning uses defined measurements created by the typeface designer. The designer will create letter pairs that will accommodate certain combinations that may have gaps because of the shape of the letter. Deciding which to use can be a matter of preference unless you are using a typeface that is not built properly.
Two other key relevant terms are tracking and leading. Tracking adjusts the space between letterforms in an entire piece of text. Leading adjusts the space between each sentence in a paragraph.
Have you been using a free typeface from a website you downloaded? Be very careful about kerning with these typefaces. Often, they lack the proper mathematics for default kerning (known as metric kerning). Professionally drawn fonts will more than likely account for letter spacing problems. Manually adjusting for certain letter combinations can fix odd letter spacing. Have you ever seen fonts where one of the letters looks a little further away from the others, even though you know you didn't add an extra space in between? Poor type design is most likely the culprit.
Harmony - The Whole is only as strong as its Parts
What does harmony look like in visual design? A page layout with harmonious design has elements that all relate to each other, are balanced, and have structure. To facilitate these principles, think about the following grid ideas illustrated in the image below. You can use grids as a formula to lay out the elements of your design.
Elements will fall into place when you know how to build the foundation. When you know where to stage a text box for example, you will see how you want the next element to relate in the space of the document. A grid or guide will help you understand the proportional relationship between each item. Think of it this way: decision paralysis caused by looking at a blank sheet of paper could be alleviated by having an idea of a simple structure.
If you need to use two pages or more, go for it! I would say three max; much like a resume, it should be easy to read, and your most important info should be present. Why does this matter for harmony? Because if everything is packed into one page, the elements on the page will struggle to work together.
Why am I qualified to share advice on this topic?
I earned a Bachelor of Science with a 3.8 GPA in Communication Design. I have many years of experience in graphic design, print production, and layout. During my time working in this field, I had to adhere to numerous style guides, utilize art assets to build files for AAA product launches and build clean, eye-catching designs that reflected brand guidelines. I hope this information gives you some comfort in knowing my advice is given with the kindest and well-meaning intentions, along with a desire to help you be your best. I truly believe when we invest in the creator economy, we all win.
Thanks for reading, and good luck! I wish you continued success through your career in content creation and broadcasting. May you have fruitful travels no matter where these roads take you.
* Typeface - You may be wondering why I use the term "typeface" instead of "font." Many use the words interchangeably, but they are technically not the same. The term typeface is what people really mean when they say font. A typeface is a particular set of glyphs or letterforms. A font is a family within the typeface. An example of a typeface would be Helvetica, while Helvetica condensed is a font within the Helvetica typeface family.