The annual report is an important communication between a company and its shareholders. Typically the report discusses the progress of the business and instills confidence in its investors and officers. Because this is a crucial publication it is vital that the annual report inspires optimism in its future.
For many companies, the annual report is a design showpiece. Even if your company has experienced some difficult economic times, don’t cut costs in producing the annual report. Take the time and money necessary to describe what the company has accomplished during the year, and let the quality of the production reflect the success of the business. Since the annual report is a once a year publication, use all the company resources to make it reflect excellence.
Make sure the overall look of the annual report reflects the nature of the company. A law office annual report looks much different from a bakery franchise annual report. An upscale and conservative business such as a finance or mortgage company needs to have an annual report that uses a professional and high-end design.
Utilize the logo and branding colors of the company or business throughout the annual report design. Consistent use of branding elements in company publications inspires confidence and helps to build the reputation of the business.
Make it Personal
Consider using photographs of employees and officers in the annual report. Using real people in this vital publication instills a sense of personal investment in the company and makes the annual report more believable. Think about hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of employees in their work environment rather than standard head shots. Further illustrate the success of the company in the annual report using appropriate and meaningful charts and graphs.
Balance the Content
The ideal annual report design utilizes a balanced amount of images and text. Use words as well as images to convey how far your company has come in one year. Consider hiring a professional copywriter who understands how to work with a designer to make the annual report worthy of attention and respect.
Choose paper and cover stock that helps to describe the business. Select a heavier paper card stock for the cover of the annual report in a color that reinforces the graphic identity of the business. Make sure the interior paper compliments the cover and the design of the interior of the report.
Take the time to make the high-quality and professional annual report that investors and financiers look forward to receiving every year.
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Brian E. Young is a graphic designer and artist in Baltimore, MD.