21 March 2024

Case Study Layout: 6 Design Elements and How to Make Them Pop

Updated March 2024: Without a smart case study layout and design elements, no one will read your case study or engage with it. You need the expertise of a designer to grab and keep the reader’s attention.

In this post, we’ll explore 6 case study layouts and design elements you need to include in your next case study. This is the 6th post in a 7-part series on case study best practices.

Case study layout does more than just pretty up a page

Once you’ve figured out the case study components you want to use, then it’s time to work with your designer to figure out a case study layout and design elements that will make your story pop.

Done well, a strong case study layout and design elements will:

  • highlight key statistics, facts or quotes
  • increase readability by providing breaks for the eyes and mind
  • use visuals to explain processes or impacts
  • boost credibility and trustworthiness
  • break complex topics into digestible morsels

Carefully applied color, headers, subheads, bolded text and bulleted lists should be part of every case study.

6 case study layout and design elements to include

Here are 6 other case study layout elements to consider—you should include at least some of these:

1. Add testimonials (with headshots) to your case study layout

Using callouts or pull quotes is the most popular graphic to include in case studies, according to our 2024 survey of 115 customer marketers. Great callouts or pull quotes usually take the form of a customer testimonial. A great quote is a credible third-party review of what you do. Showcase it!

Select the best sound bites from your interview to use as callouts or pull quotes. They should be informative and substantial, but not more than a sentence or two. And don’t be afraid to splice together two fragments into one killer quote (but make sure you run the final version by the interviewee). Be sure to include attribution with all quotes.

And don’t forget to include a headshot with your testimonials. It will deliver instant trustworthiness and credibility. Unfortunately, testimonials are invented fairly regularly by less scrupulous companies, so adding your customer’s face, name, job title and company to the testimonial helps it carry more weight.

Also, readers relate to people. You’ve worked to humanize the customer experience by telling a relatable, candid story in your case study. Hammer it home with a quality headshot. Don’t accept a selfie or a photo from a wedding. Headshots must be on-brand, personable, professional and do both you and your customer justice.

Here’s a sample of a headshot from our own website:

Case study layout example of pro headshot from Uplift

And here’s another sample from HR software company Zenefits’ case study on its customer, Skilljar:

Case study layout example of pro headshot from Zenefits

2. Include strong metrics in your case study layout

Metrics are the third most popular graphic to include in your case studies, but we also know that identifying impactful metrics for case studies is a big challenge.

So, if you ARE able to get some compelling metrics, be sure to showcase them near the top of your case study.

Here’s a simple but effective example of a metrics block from Databricks:

Case study layout example of a metrics block from Databricks

And here’s a cool metrics block from Flock Freight:

Flock Freight example of metrics block for case study

3. Use workplace photos in your case study layout and design elements

If possible or relevant, include other photos from the customer’s workplace. This can help the reader understand the type of industry, work processes and standards of the customer. Vast libraries of stock photos are available if you’re stuck—but your own pictures will be better and tell the story more honestly.

This workplace photo from an Expensify case study on Philz Coffee helps readers quickly understand some of the context of the story.

Case study layout example of workplace photo from Expensify

This product shot from a ServiceChannel case study on FreshPet also helps readers visually connect with the story.

Case study layout example of workplace photo from FreshPet

4. Include data illustrations to enhance your case study layout

Some readers are visual. The best case study layout samples include clear data illustrations with minimal text, which are more effective than a paragraph full of numbers. Experiment with the best way to showcase the statistics or data you have. Examples include:

  • pie chart
  • graph
  • map
  • timeline
  • calendar

ClickUp uses screenshots and graphics to help readers understand what the solution looks like:

Case study layout example of creenshots and graphics from ClickUp

Imprivata (formerly Fairwarning) uses helpful graphics like this to clarify relational information in a visual way:

Case study layout example of a data illustration from Imprivata/Fairwarning

5. Add informative infographics to your case study layout and design elements

Infographics visually break down a complex process into simple steps, or help guide the reader through the highlights of your case study.

Some elements of a case study may lend themselves to infographics more than others. If you think this may be the case, talk to an experienced designer. Translating words into a compelling graphic is an art.

Infographics are currently underused—only 19% of respondents include them as a case study format—but another 39% plan to try infographics this year

Here are two great samples of infographics from Splunk’s case study on Domino’s Pizza:

Case study layout example of infographic from Splunk

Another case study layout example of infographic from Splunk

6. Finish your case study layout with a compelling call to action

If you’ve held your reader’s attention until the end of your case study, they’re likely interested in learning more about your products and services. Consider including a “Read more stories” or “Watch a demo” call to action (CTA) at the bottom of your case study layout. Make sure your case study CTA stands out from the text in your case study by using large fonts, colors and graphic elements like boxes or lines.

Here’s an example from Flock Freight that illustrates how this CTA element could look:

CTA case study layout example from a Flock Freight case study

Here’s another example of a CTA from Waldo, which offers readers two avenues to explore next:

CTA case study layout example from a Waldo case study

Case study layout is important, but keep the focus on the story

Remember, although the visual elements of a case study template should be strong, the text is still the main feature of your case study. You should use case study layout and design elements to pull the reader through the story, highlight key points and make for an easier reading experience. Don’t let the case study layout and design elements overwhelm the reader.

You’re swamped. We’re here to help.

Check out our B2B SaaS case study writing services. We work with high-growth companies like Okta and WalkMe to create powerful case studies that nurture leads and close sales faster.

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Emily Amos

As the founder of Uplift Content, Emily leads her team in creating done-for-you case studies, ebooks and blog posts for high-growth SaaS companies like ClickUp, Calendly and WalkMe. Connect with Emily on Linkedin

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