Annual report design

We can help from the earliest stages of researching and gathering content right through to design and final production of your annual report. We make the process stress free and streamlined, plus can ensure your annual report is not just a history statement of the last 12 months but a flagship marketing tool.

Gatehouse Bank Annual Report Cover
Gatehouse Bank Annual Report Spread

As experienced annual report designers, we can use our expertise to provide a cost effective solution to your corporate reporting challenge. Creating an effective and engaging report does not have to cost the earth, which many of our clients fear before speaking to our team at Acumen Design. The key is to understand the process and work together to break down the project in stages and get the right foundations.

Our service does not end with creative annual report design, we also help with the final production, from an interactive, online ready, accessible PDF download, through to printed solutions, digitally for smaller quantities, or litho printed for maximum quality. With over 25 years experience in print management (remembering a time before Apple dominance and strong typographical values) our clients know they can use just one supplier for their annual report production.

This complete annual report design and production service gives our clients peace of mind, so they don’t have to worry about technical details, but can concentrate on the already big challenge of gathering content and keeping stakeholders happy. One of the keys to achieving this is to follow a process, something we have developed over many years working in partnership with our clients.

Ofcom Open Book P4
Ofcom Open Book P1

Below is a breakdown of most of the stages we go through, or at least suggest our clients work through even if some stages are on their own. This makes the challenge less daunting and ensures things are not missed or considered which could be difficult to overcome later down the line.

Our annual report design process

For more help and inspiration click here to read our insight – How to design an annual report

Research – An annual report is more than just a brochure or marketing leaflet; as the name suggests it is about the company history over the last 12 months. You need to take time to consult with all relevant staff, from directors down to front end delivery teams, to build the picture of the last year. Research everything and don’t dismiss anything at this stage. Also look at what things have actually been recorded both in terms of the facts and ideally imagery.

Aims & Objectives – Decide what the annual report needs to achieve. This is beyond the simple task of reporting, but is it to highlight a major change, to build brand recognition or confidence, to become a reporting and marketing tool for the company? Without a clear direction you may create something amazing but useless as a tool.

Planning the pages – It is not just as easy as starting in January and work towards December. Develop major themes, divide that in to sections, maybe sub sections and special areas of focus. Plan when and how to include financial content. Go back and make sure your plan delivers against your objectives.

Create content – With a plan for your content you can now focus on writing and possibly pulling in content from different departments and sources. If that is the case you will need to ensure this all sounds like it is coming from the same brand. If it doesn’t you may need help copywriting to ensure tone of voice is consistent. Try to tell a story and always think about the end user. Try to be engaging and not just historically correct. Build layers and give extra insight where possible reflecting and enhancing your brand reputation.

Source imagery – Photography, graphics and possibly illustration can bring your content to life and this is very important in dense blocks of copy that can be hard work to absorb. Infographics have become a buzz word, but they are a genuine design opportunity in annual reporting. Ideally the images will be real and believable not just generic images from online libraries. Clip art images can work brilliantly in general marketing, but if used in annual reports they can look false and make the whole content untrusted.

Ofcom Spread Pages X4

Develop design concepts – We always design different cover and inside page concepts before we jump in to the full design. We make sure we have a clear brief from the previous stages, and offer different options so our clients are engaged in the design process. The design must bring the content to life not overpower it.

Concept development – Sometimes in consulting with our clients we discover ideas for combing elements from different concepts, and develop them further. We are so experienced, and make sure we understand the brief, very often our client approves one of our concepts immediately. Even if that is the case seeing multiple design concepts can help clarify why the chosen option is the best.

First full design – Taking the approved concept, the annual report starts to come to life as the content is flowed and designed page by page. This may involve lots of consulting with the content authors to make sure the message is still clear. Typography is very important to ensure the right emphasis is created. Plus the full image requirements are established, which may mean more photos are needed or shows opportunities for graphics that add impact perhaps taking over a whole spread creating a wow factor.

Corrections and Changes – We work with our clients to minimise changes, ensuring we keep on schedule and manage the budget. At the start of the project we will have discussed early content approval by key stakeholders, but in reality some changes can only be seen once the content is at the design stage.

Production – As part of establishing the aims and objectives, we will have defined printed and digital requirements of the annual report. Very often both is required so once the design is signed off we then create high res, print ready artwork and if required adapt the artwork for an interactive online option.

By following these stages, and using the expertise and creativity of an agency such as Acumen Design, your annual report design should not only make the stakeholders and directors happy, but become such an effective reporting and marketing tool it wins new customers and reinforces to existing clients why you are the right choice.

Annual Reporting Quote

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