When the new year rolls around, many employees return to work with annual reporting at the top of their to-do lists. Annual reports are a great opportunity to highlight your company’s efforts. This is why design should be a major consideration in creating these important (and often required) documents. If you’re going to spend a solid amount of time, effort, and budget pulling together a report, why not create a multipurpose piece that has a longer lifespan and greater impact?
What does design have to do with a company annual report?
Just because an annual report may be required, it doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. The idea of this report is to communicate important information about your company to your audience, likely employees, shareholder, and investors. If they can’t understand it (or don’t even want to try) then you’re missing an opportunity!
Organization of your information – the most important step
Creating an annual report design that caters to both skimmers and deep divers makes the most sense as it ensures important information is seen. After all, that’s the ultimate goal, right? Organizing the layout of your report in a way that has a clear hierarchy should always be step one. If your reader has to wade through continuous sections of text without variations in formatting they’ll quit before they get to the second paragraph. With clear sections, effective headlines, and subheads to lead them through your annual report, they’ll have a roadmap that will make digesting the information easier.
Infographics – consider the options
There’s no getting around it, charts are a necessary evil. It can be challenging to show large or complex data in a way that speaks to your audience. This is where data visualization and good design come into play. A designer will analyze your data and recommend the best way to visually communicate the information. Whether in the form of iconography, charts, or tables, thoughtful design of these elements is critical to communicating your data.
Are you using the best format to convey the idea? Is your data telling the story it is supposed to? A well-executed graphic can often convey your information much more quickly than text alone. Plus, it appeals to readers who are more likely to skim larger areas of text.
Consider multiple uses for your annual report
Another benefit of well-designed data is that it often creates the opportunity for multipurpose graphics. Specific graphics or portions of your annual report design can be used to share snippets of information with your audience. Consider how your designs can be used on your website, social channels, and in presentations throughout the year, and remember to factor them into your marketing plan. Often it requires minimal modification on the design end and can be a great way to expand the reach of your data.
Print or digital – determine the best format
How do you interact with your audience and stakeholders? Are printed annual reports still necessary? Or would a digital/interactive version make the most sense for your company? Sometimes, it’s a combination of both that makes the most sense. Annatto will work with you to determine the best format to proceed with that meets all of your needs. Our goal is to factor in multipurpose functionality for every piece that we create.
It’s your company’s story – great design helps
The overall look and feel of your annual report is an integral part of effectively telling your story for the past year. It goes without saying (but we’re still going to say it) that it should follow your company’s brand guidelines. Photography and illustration choices, the flow of information, highlights and callouts… these are all elements that should work together to present your information in a way that connects with your audience.
To see a few of Annatto’s annual report examples, check out the data visualization section of our website.
Not sure how to tell your story?
If you’re staring at loads of unorganized information, give us a call or shoot us an email. We’ve got you covered. We’d love to collaborate with you to ensure your company’s next annual report is a piece that connects, informs, and educates as you look back on your past year!