Planning your annual report design.

Annual Report Design

Tips on how to plan a successful annual report design.

Assign a project leader

As there will be a lot of people contributing to the planning of your annual report, it is good to have a project manager to spearhead this and ensure the project runs smoothly.

Define who needs to be involved

Everyone likes to make an input but define who these people are, it could be the Managing Director, FInancial Director, designers and copywriters. Get key people on board early to avoid any nasty late changes.

What is the objective of the report

Is there a key message or story you could tell to help make the report more interesting than just a set of figures.

Consider your key audience

Tailor the design and format of the report to the audience to ensure they can engage with and absorb the key messages. What do they want to know, what are you telling them and why would they be interested?


Talk to us today about your next annual report

Set a budget

Before starting, plan and get quotes for all stages of the report creation. Create a spreadsheet and list the items so that you know how much the project is going to cost. These can include copywriting, design, photography, print and delivery. You might need to adjust things to help keep within a budget or in the lucky event of coming under you could use the extra savings for additional promotional items to go with the report.


If the report is going to be printed then format will play an important part in the creation of the report. Consider economic sizes for print (which you can discuss with your designers) or if budgets allow a format that helps enhance the key message of the report. Digital versions can also be uploaded to websites that create a page turnable version which can be promoted and shared through social media.

Create a production schedule

Plan ahead and create a schedule that is realistic and achievable. Set a date from which you want the report to be delivered and work back from this date to see if this works, if not you will need to adjust. If a deadline is not an issue then plan each stage and assign a block of time for this. Speaking to your designer when creating your schedule is key as they will be able to give you realistic timescales on the creation and printing of the report phases. The phases for a typical report can be:

  1. Content outline
  2. Key message/story
  3. Designers/copywriters briefed
  4. First draft of content
  5. Content signed-off
  6. Content and financials to designers
  7. First draft of design/layouts
  8. Design amends and creation of report
  9. Design signed-off
  10. Online versions created
  11. Printing and distribution

This is just a brief summary and there are other phases you can add.

A successful annual report

Planning and scheduling ensure your report is on budget, on time and runs smoothly. Great design ensures your key message/story is communicated effectively and engages your audience.

Speak to Toast today to see how we can make your annual report a success, call 01295 26 66 44 or click the link below.

Mark Williams

Mark Williams

Mark is a founding Director at Toast and heads-up the print team. He specialises in Report design and typography. He's been a Graphic Designer for over 25 years.