#1: Consistent Fonts
Pick a set of fonts to use throughout your paper. You should have at most 3, at least 2.
The header font should be used for section headers from the Table of Contents, the Table of Contents, and the title page if you do not have a creative font.
The body font should be used for the main written portion of your manual.
A creative font is optional. If there is a font that matches well with the theme of your manaul, use it. However, if you do not find one that you like don't use one! The header font is the substitute for the creative font.
#2: Cover Pages
No judge is going to remember a boring cover page (like the ones to the right). Again, stay away from your body font. Create a unique design that will be memorable to the judge. Use pictures and shapes, but stay away from WordArt. If your project or company has a logo, use that too. Make sure the colors match the logo. If you need some inspiration, look at some previous winning manual designs (+mine) from last year:
#3 Body Design
Below are some examples from my manual last year...