Annual reporting is a critical part of every business regardless of what industry it belongs to. It can provide a comprehensive report on the company”™s activities, financial performance and a lot of valuable information about the business throughout the preceding year. Annual reports should look professional and presentable since they are sent to shareholders, which is why it is important to carefully choose the annual report design to use.
Never wait until the report hits your desk before determining the design strategy. Plan the annual report design as early as possible so you will have plenty of time to think about it. Presenting a killer annual report will surely leave the stockholders talking not just about the content but its design as well. But how does a successful report look like?
A well-designed annual report must contain the following:
When people hear “annual report” the first thing that usually comes to mind is a 10- to 25-page booklet with glossy paper that requires a lot of reading. Although the digital format is now available, a booklet-style of an annual report remains to be widely preferred since it is cost-effective and practical. Annual reports are mostly packed with so much information, which often bore the readers; but there has to be something in the report that you can grab and use for the design. While it”™s impossible to eliminate all text, there are other ways to minimise the chance of boring the readers. Read the report carefully so you can analyse the information and design it in a more visual and digestible manner.
Annual reports contain important information about the activities in the preceding year, but it should also feature a valuable story – about change, improvement or success of the company. The story must be able to make the stockholders and employees think about the year to come. Consider the annual report as a branding tool that helps the people better understand the company they are part of. Is your company serious or somewhat light-hearted? Let this voice reflect in the annual report design of your company.
Impressive Data Visual
Does your report include plenty of numbers? An infographic is a valuable tool to employ when the report involves a lot of numbers. Using an infographic, the report can show the impact of the data in a more creative and visually appealing way, like creating charts or graphs, rather than writing out the numbers. This format creates a visual element in the report that draws the readers into the information. An annual report may contain images, charts and graphs that tell the story of growth and other information.
Every single bit of information in the annual report must be linked in a manner that makes it easier for the readers to understand. A complicated document should be divided into short sections or chunks of information without affecting its natural flow. In a booklet-style of an annual report, using a common colour theme for each section and to connect pages is a clever idea to break down the complex document. Through a chunk-style, the information is easier to skim or browse through without having to reach each line.
Attractive Cover Pages
Some companies prefer to have a traditional annual report design. Not too flashy, just simple tables and text. In this case, the design should put more focus on the front and back covers of the booklet. Design an attractive cover and a couple of intro pages where to tell a story before the shareholders get into the actual numbers. The opening pages could also be used for promotion and marketing.