Annual report design pointers

In part 4 of our annual report design blog series, we give you some of our top tips to make your annual report look visually stunning.

JDJ Creative are annual report design specialists. In this series of articles, we look at best practices regarding the design of these documents. In our previous article, we looked at how to choose the best channel for your annual report. In this article, we provide you with some design best practices for an engaging report…

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  1. Why create an exceptional annual report
  2. Planning your report
  3. Choosing the right channel
  4. Design pointers
  5. The JDJ process
  6. Disseminating your annual report

How to design an annual report

With the creative brief in mind, the design team will start creating an editorial concept. Following some key tips can help to increase your report’s visual impact.

Internal spreads from the Mckenzie-Delis Packer review

Design for the skim reader - Remember that many people will spend no more than three minutes scanning through a report. Make sure that all the key points you want to communicate are designed to stand out.

Infographics - Make the data visual with infographics. You can emphasise the key information you want readers to notice and remember.

Use clean and coherent typography - If your report is to be produced in both print and digital formats, think about the font you use. Online content on a webpage needs a font that is web-safe so that your editorial is viewed as intended. This is not an issue if you are simply uploading a digital pdf.

Choose a visual theme - Great photography has the power to transform as well as inform. Accompanying well-written copy with a coherent visual theme can reinforce your key messages throughout the report and increase reader engagement.

Make it personal - Include stories and imagery that tell readers about the people in your company who make everything happen. Stories can help humanise your brand.

Embrace your medium - If using digital formats, maximise their strengths. If a photo is worth a thousand words, what can be said about a video or an interactive infographic?

Plan your portraits - Your report will look more professional if portraits of your key people have a consistent style. Decide on a dress code before the photoshoot.

Make it shareable on social - Social media is a key channel for increasing your company’s profile and raising awareness of its achievements. Add sharing buttons when publishing your report online, to help increase its organic reach.

Include a powerful purpose statement - This works on so many levels: it tells investors about your vision for the company and can also help to attract new talent.

Mockup of the Mckenzie-Delis Packer review shown in print and digital formats

The importance of storytelling in an annual report

Ensuring a report looks good is only half the battle. Alongside captivating visuals, the narrative needs to be engaging and inspiring. Whether describing the previous year’s activities and successes or describing future plans, your report represents an opportunity to connect directly with your stakeholders.

It is a chance to show an audience how your business lives its values, and showcase your company culture. At its heart, the annual report provides an opportunity to show progress across the organisation, including profits, people and purpose. Once the words and design are aligned, your annual report becomes a powerful reporting and marketing tool, not just a task completed for shareholder benefit.

Once you've decided upon the medium for your report, planned it correctly and followed our guide to design best practices you will have a report to be proud of. If you're interested in partnering with JDJ Creative on your next report, the next part of our guide explains our design process in more detail.


Part 3
Choosing the right channel for your annual report
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Part 5
The JDJ process
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The 'annual report design guide' eBook displayed on laptop screen

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Contact JDJ Creative

If you’re looking for an annual report design partner, JDJ Creative are the specialists. To find out how we can work with you to create exceptional reports, please get in touch.

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