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White Paper World 5: June 23, 2022


  • This just in: 2022 AWAI White Paper Spec Challenge Winner
  • Quick tip: On your white paper cover, show pictures of people
  • Design corner: Do you like my new font?
  • Just for fun: 7 Wordle clones, 2 suggestions + Wayne Qwynn

This just in: 2022 AWAI White Paper Spec Challenge Winner

I just wrapped up another session of the AWAI White Paper Mastery and Certification Program.

And I’m delighted to announce the winner of $5K award for the best white paper project done by anyone in the program.

Jennifer Koppelman


Out of 72 papers submitted, the spring 2022 AWAI White Paper Spec Challenge Winner is Jennifer Koppelman.

Jennifer did everything right with her project: research, analysis, writing, and style. We expect her to enjoy a lot of success writing white papers.

Hear why we liked Jennifer’s white paper and find out more about this unique white paper training.



Quick tip: On a white paper cover, show people

The cover of your white paper is extremely valuable real estate.

Don’t waste this space by showing nothing but text. That approach went out in the 1990s.

Here are three old-fashioned examples.


Symantec SaaS white paper cover

white paper cover Steltor now Oracle  white paper cover text only


What’s wrong with these covers? Well, many things:

  • They’re not engaging
  • They’re not visual, except for the splats of color
  • They’re unreadable shrunk down as thumbnails
  • They don’t say anything about the content inside

All in all, I believe these covers just aren’t earning their keep.

So how about a graphic cover?

Well, that’s better than text-only… but not much.

For any kind of software or services, nothing says “vaporware” more than a dreamy graphic.

Consider these three graphic covers.


white paper cover graphic  white paper cover graphiccover of LEDGIT ICO white paper


Sure, at thumbnail size they look better than text.

But do they say anything about what’s inside the white paper?

To make your cover work, use a stock photo

And not a “smug shot” that shows impossibly good-looking people celebrating with a group handshake.

Find a stock photo that conveys a real person using the real product in a real-world setting.

Check out the covers of these white papers I worked on for different software products.


white paper cover EHR Analytics  white paper cover photo  white paper cover photo


These show real-looking people using real devices in real locations: a PC in an office, a laptop in the field, and a smartphone in a store.

These three people are personas: representatives of ideal users of the software.

So you tell me, looking at these assorted covers, which ones do you think work best?

Which papers would you more likely download and open?


Design corner: Do you like my new font?

My website moved to a new host recently—Kapptive Studios—and I’d like to say “thank you very much!” to David and Tony for making that so smooth.

The most visible change is the main font changing from Verdana to Georgia.

Created by Matthew Carter and released by Microsoft in 1996, Verdana was designed to be easy to read on-screen.

I used Verdana for e-mails, my website, and white papers for close to 20 years.

type samples Verdana and Georgia

But now I’ve switched to Georgia as my standard in this e-mail, this website, and for white paper drafts.

Georgia was also commissioned by Microsoft, also designed by Matthew Carter, and also intended to be highly readable on a screen.

I’ve always liked Georgia because of its classic roundy-round letters.

The italics are far nicer than those in Verdana.

Even the “old style” numerals in Georgia (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0) with swooping ascenders and descenders are notable.

All-in-all, I feel Georgia gives a more enjoyable reading experience.

What do you think?


Just for fun: Wayne Qwynn, 6 Wordle clones, and 2 more suggested spinoffs

So you do Wordle every day and usually get it in 4 or 5 guesses? Me too.

Good for you! Word puzzles are great for stretching our vocabularies—a valuable warm-up for writers like us. Plus, they’re fun!

Speaking of fun, click the screenshot to see an amusing 3-minute video from The New Yorker featuring Wayne Qwynn, the purported “Senior Word Engineer” behind Wordle.

I think The New Yorker is jealous they didn’t invent Wordle?!

Despite Wayne Qwynn, do you ever find yourself wishing for more?

Wordle Unlimited is almost the same as Wordle, but you can click for another word. And another. And another.

Or why not quadruple your thrills?

In Quordle, you must find four different 5-letter words in just 9 guesses.

I like Quordle. I can burn through four guesses just to see where the common letters fall in each word, and then work out the rest.

And it seems like there’s another Wordle clone every week.

For Canadians, there’s Canuckle, where every word has some Canadian connection, like MAPLE or POPPY.

For lovers of Yiddish and Hebrew words, there’s Jewdle with 6-letter words. SHALOM!

For Harry Potter fans, there’s Hogwartle. I was going to do it, but SNAPE gave me detention!

For Star Wars fans, there’s Starwordle. May the FORCE be with you.

Two more suggested Wordle clones

Someone really should produce Markle for marketing terms. EMAIL, LINKS, MEDIA… I’d do that one every day. Wouldn’t you?

And how about Nerdle for tech terms? Featuring acronyms like ASCII and HTTPS plus “real” words like AZURE and QUERY.


That’s all for this time

If you liked this e-newsletter, please forward it to a colleague who’s interested in white papers.

You can see all the previous issues here:

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And if you have any questions about white papers, please send them to Gordon AT and I’ll do my best to answer in a future article.

Gordon Graham
That White Paper Guy

About Gordon Graham

Worked on 320+ white papers for clients from Silicon Valley to Switzerland, on everything from choosing enterprise software to designing virtual worlds for kids, for clients from tiny startups to 3M, Google, and Verizon. Wrote White Papers for Dummies which earned 60+ 5-star ratings on Amazon. Won 16 awards from the Society for Technical Communication. Named AWAI 2019 Copywriter of the Year.

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