Formats and finishes for annual reports

Report design

Selecting the correct format and finish to your annual report will add that extra finesse, making it stand out and communicate more than just the facts.

There are a huge variety of formats and finishes to choose from for your annual report design. Here we take a look at what you could do to help add that extra wow factor.

Paper size

Other than A4 will instantly stand out but may have implications for print and distribution. If there are no restrictions on the budget then great, you can go to town but more than likely you will need to speak to your designer to see what options you have for your budget.

Paper stock

The feel of the annual report in your hand can have a considerable effect and reaction for the recipient. Certain papers have textural properties and help communicate a concept, others are more functional and some are selected to meet environmental considerations. Paperweight should also be considered as this can help to define the cover pages from content.

Lamination and spot UV varnish

Lamination is a thin layer is added to the paper to give it a certain feel and look. This comes in gloss or matt and is usually applied to the whole of the page. This is mostly used on covers and can be used in conjunction with a spot UV varnish, to provide a contrast. Again like lamination, a spot UV varnish is a thin transparent layer applied to certain graphic or image areas of the page, making it shine and look glossy. This is great for adding subtle touches.

Die cutting

Die cutting is basically cutting a part of, or a shape into, the paper. This can be great in creating intrigue by revealing an image or graphic from underneath the page. Or used as a design feature that helps enhance the overall concept of the annual report.

Binding or stitching

There are endless possibilities when it comes to binding your annual report. Common types include:

  • saddle stitch (or staple stitch) – normally the first option for binding, is ideal for smaller annual reports and involves wire staples.
  • perfect bound – ideal for thicker annual reports (40-700 pages), involves binding the pages together with adhesive glue along the spine.
  • Wiro bound – this is a metal wire loop that binds the annual reports down one side, comes in different colours and is ideal for manuals and reference guides.
  • screw fixing – holes are drill into the pages of the annual report and screws inserted. Ideal for smaller annual reports, giving the annual reports a focal element.
  • Others include case binding (used in hard backed books), various string and sewn binding.

Talk to us today about your next annual report


Embossing is pushing a shape out of the page so that it is raised obove the surface. The opposite to this is debossing (or letter press), when you push a shape into the page to create an indent. This is commonly used on logos to create a subtle, high quality affect.

Foil blocking

This is when certain areas, normally text and logos, are printed as a thin sheet of metallic foil instead of ink. Used to highlight certain graphic elements and can change even the modest paper into something striking and unusual. 

Metallic or special inks

Metallic ink is a varnish containing metallic particles. When metallic ink is printed and left to dry, the metallic particles rise to the surface, reflecting light and creating a metallic sheen. Metallic inks create a similar, but less intense effect than foil blocking because they are applied as paste or liquid ink, versus a thin sheet of metal foil applied directly on top of the page.

Talk to us about your annual report design

Talk to Toast about how we can help you select a format and finish for your next annual report. Get in touch today, we’d love to hear from you on 01295 26 66 44 or click on the link below.

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