Five tips for a standout annual report design
Over the years, I have been lucky to be involved in annual report graphic design for a range of not for profit organisations and large and small businesses. I say ‘lucky’ for a reason, as I love the process of bringing what is essentially a text-heavy document ‘to life’!
From a graphic design perspective, it has always been important to remember that an annual report is your chance to talk directly to the people who have a stake in your organisation. Making the right messages stand out will ensure that your annual report is a valuable communication tool for the year ahead.
Below are five tips that may guide you when preparing your organisation’s annual report.
- Involve your Graphic Designer early in the process. Along with your professional copywriter, your annual report graphic designer will help spark the creative process and can provide ideas and solutions to challenges commonly faced when presenting large amounts of text based information. Experienced graphic designers are trained problem solvers and can be a great ‘outside’ voice.
- Setting the scene with a ‘theme’. Every year your organisation overcomes different challenges, focuses on specific priority areas and achieves success in various programs and products. If your organisation has had a huge year in a particular area of its operations, you may consider making the theme of your annual report design reflect these activities through images, headings and even through the structure of your report.
- Professional photography that tells your story. Great photos of your organisation in action can illustrate your story in an honest and compelling way. Engaging a professional photographer is a wise investment for any organisation, but if your budget is tight, maintain a library of quality photos taken throughout the year and make sure the people who are featured in photos have given you permission to use them in marketing materials.
- Turn your data into eye catching illustrations. Your annual report aims to communicate your progress and activities to your reader and what better way to convey the figures and data you have collected over the year – than charts and clever illustrations. Your annual report graphic designer will be a great resource of ideas and can offer ways to present data so that your information is eye catching and quickly understood.
- Hard copy or electronic? Traditionally, annual reports are produced as hard copy documents that are professionally printed and distributed by hand and by post throughout the coming year. Consider for a moment, the role of your website as a distribution point for your annual report. The time and financial savings that result in producing and distributing your annual report electronically via email or for download from your website can be enormous! And if you still feel that you need to have something in hard copy, have a condensed version, such as a ‘Summary Annual Report’ document designed and printed for those mail outs and information packages.
Whether you are a small or large business, Martlette will work with you to create a fresh annual report design that suits your needs perfectly. Peruse my portfolio to view some examples of my work, and take a moment to learn more about Martlette.