“Take our annual report design away from the dull, heavy-going stereotype”
A company’s annual report reviews their activities and their financial performance over the previous year. This information is traditionally shared in the form of a printed, booklet-style publication, but popularity within digital formats is growing.
Annual reports are often described as ‘dull’, ‘heavy going’ and a ‘design drag’ but they really don’t have to be! There are many simple and creative things designers can do to put an end to this stereotype and create something that is memorable and engaging.
An annual report is a story and more importantly a branding element that helps your company’s people better understand you, or gives those yet to be a part of your organisation, a tour. The type of language used in an annual report is very important. The text must flow and be understood by whoever might be reading it. Avoiding jargon and writing simple sentences, which incorporate strong, active verbs creates something that people are more likely to read, because they can make sense of it.
We can’t emphasize enough how important space is across design in general. Space has an enormous impact, especially within text heavy designs like annual reports. Margins and columns can help break up large sections of text, giving the information room to breathe. Adjusting the leading (vertical space between each line of text) opens up the text making the pages feel lighter, and in turn making it easier to digest the vast amounts of information.
Visualising data is another fantastic tool to break up lots of text and adds another engaging element to the design. Infographics, graphs and charts are a great aid to understanding complicated data. Formatting it in this way makes for a straightforward read and therefore makes it easier to understand and remember.
Using imagery within an annual report is part of telling a story and is a powerful means of communication. Images engage readers and help build your company’s identity, displaying what you are all about. Images covey a message faster than any piece of text.
Collectively, all of the information within an annual report can be broken down into chapters. This process creates natural flow, organisation and allows readers to navigate the document easily. Utilising page spreads and combining the design with colour gives the reader and sense of direction and makes vital information easier to pull out and make prominent on a page.
Turtle Key asked topright to tell their 2018 story through a 40 page report. Using the techniques above we created them a report that looked professional, conveyed their message and visions clearly and educated their audience about what they have done, laying the groundwork for plans in the future.