I'm designing PDF documents. The context is the assessment of real estate properties. Each PDF needs to give information about the following:

  • The building itself
    • Nature of the property (flat, house etc.)
    • Address
    • Year of construction
    • Name of the person living inside
    • ...
  • The owner of the property
    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone
    • ...
  • The expert who assessed the building
    • Name
    • Address
    • Certification number
    • Certification company
    • ...

So far, the only way I found to display this information is using tables with 2 columns (label and value). I find it very repetitive especially when you have several tables.

Can you think of any other way to display this kind of label+value information? Isn't there anything better than tables? Or if tables are the best solution, can you think of anything to make them less repetitive and more interesting to read?


  • So we're not covering the same ground, what do you have so far? Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 18:08
  • Could you describe who the audience of this document is?
    – Green
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 19:14

3 Answers 3


Break all that monotonous table junk up with a pleasing structure. My favorites, information architecture and design.

Let's think of this as an exercise in designing a baseball card or Pokémon card, but for real estate assets.

Every property fits into a category. That's its role, like pitcher or batter or shortstop or water pokémon. In this case, it's house, flat, school, business. You could use an icon or a large image to represent the type of building it is. That image will be in the same place on each card. It's the first thing you'll notice.

Year built is a pretty important stat. Put that where you'd find hit points or damage points, or RBIs, right?

The address is the "Name" of the pokémon or baseball player. It's the unique identifier. That goes large and central, close to the icon.

Now all you have to contend with are stats that will go in a table -- the tenant, the owner and the inspector. Those are the smallest elements.

Do you have a photo of each property? Bonus points for a picture instead of an icon.

By laying these out with the most important elements as most salient, you'll be able to look at these PDFs and scan them quickly to understand what you've collected. Newer houses will be easy to compare with older ones, etc.


I don't believe you need tables for it, it will add too much noise and eat too much real estate with the dividers a table has. I would personally try a 3 vertical blocks approach. (Expert, owner, building) with just the info you have to put making sure you use the right typo and styles:

enter image description here

Either that or that depending on the space you have available

Suzie Black

6 rd. Lorem ipsum

Lorem city, 333333


(Less space in btw, formatting here is odd) Etc.

Hope that helps


Sorry to be a nerd here... But although you feel that tables are boring, your users/audience may not. If their aim is to compare and scan through specs that are really specific, that's exactly what tables are for. In my experience, people like tables when trying to consume lots of info. But not every table has to look like an excel sheet.

There are a lot of visual design mechanisms you can use to make tables easily readable and nice to took at. Each section doesn't have to be totally identical.

Jazzing it up just to jazz it up might not give you the results that you want. I would do a couple of concepts and get feedback from real people that will be consuming the design.

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