Why Annual Reports are Windows into Organisations’ Souls2 March 2020
You can tell a lot about an organisation by its annual report. Of course, clearly written and relevant information and data are essential for a professional and useful annual report. However, annual report design should not be overlooked.
An annual report is a core document for any company, public authority or not-for-profit agency. It showcases your work, achievements and priorities while reaching out to your members, sponsors, donors and clients.
First impressions count
Putting the right effort and resources into your annual report is vital to ensuring your organisation is viewed as strong and credible.
From the cover image to the choice of fonts, colour scheme and layout, annual report design is about making the best first impression. The look and feel of your annual report are key in helping encourage people to read on and discover what you have achieved.
Singing from the same song sheet
An annual report is often tasked with bringing together the work of a diverse and multi-teamed organisation. Therefore, it must present a cohesive view of your organisation. The design should easily flow from page to page and help tell a shared story. Good graphic design is important to delivering a consistent theme when showing how different teams’ achievements combine to meet a common goal.
Help focus on the important
Professional annual report design can ensure a reader notices the most important or relevant information. Whether using infographics, statistics or boxed text, clever design can direct the reader’s eye to the information you want them to see.
Keep it real
Stock photos have no place in an annual report. The report is about your organisation, staff and supporters. So, don’t fill it with images of unknown people with no connection to your organisation. Photos should help tell the story of your year. Your graphic designer will carefully crop and position images so they support the information on each page.
Part of the family
It may be tempting to go all out on your annual report design and add every available creative element. However, annual reports need to complement other marketing collateral. Your report should reflect your brand design, corporate style and promotional materials. Importantly, the design of your annual reports from year to year, should harmonise with one another to help tell the story of how you organisation has developed and grown over the years.
There are no shortcuts
Finally, getting the right annual report design is a detailed process. It requires planning and consultation with all involved, including your graphic designer. Write a clear and comprehensive brief for what you want out of your annual report. Then ensure you involve designers and copywriters throughout the process so they can help you present the best image possible.