Writing Texts

Presentational Devices

Presentational Devices

english languageThis section is all about how the text looks. You will need to do the following:

  • list the presentational devices the text uses
  • explain why these devices are used and what effectthey have

The first step is recognising presentational devices. Including:

  • headings (titles) and sub-headings
  • photos
  • pictures
  • illustrations
  • font size and style (bold, italic etc)
  • colour
  • layout features (bullets, boxed text)
  • structure (short or long paragraphs)
  • quotations (things people said either in quotation marks or highlighted in the text)

You can revise this section by analysing any text you pick up. Get a copy of a newspaper and choose a page at random. What headings does it use? Has it used images? Are quotations featured?

Why are certain presentational devices used

The devices used depend on:

  • purpose – what the text is trying to do (eg inform, advise, persuade)
  • audience – who it is trying to talk to (eg children, adults, men, women)

Layout (such as the use of pictures, diagrams and lists) choices are made to meet a specific purpose and communicate with a specific audience. Choices in colour and font, for example, can be made to appeal to a specific target group. Bright colours can be used to appeal to children or for lively events. Different presentational devices create different effects.

Remember there are three main reasons for using presentational devices: mood, memory, clarity.


A piece of writing will always try to express feelings. The mood created may be serious and fearful (in an newspaper article about road safety) or fun (in an advertisement for a holiday). The mood will depend on the target audience.

Devices to look out for in mood:

  • pictures
  • fonts
  • colour
  • quotes


CaptureIf the main purpose of a piece of non-fiction writing is to inform, then it is important that readers find and remember key bits of information. These can include website addresses or phone numbers, advice or statistics.

Devices to look out for that are used to aid memory:

  • bold text
  • headlines and sub headings
  • bullet points
  • diagrams, maps and illustrations
  • White space, clear layout


Most non-fiction texts are written for people in a hurry, so the purpose and audience need to be obvious so it appeals to the right people. The information within the text also needs to be clearly presented otherwise people will stop reading.

Devices to look out for to aid clarity:

  • bold text
  • bullet points
  • sub-headings
  • paragraphs
  • colour
  • images and captions
  • quotes