Do’s and don’ts for annual report design.

What you should be doing, and avoiding when creating your next annual report.

The do’s

  1. Plan – Creating annual reports take longer than you think. You should set a date of when you need the printed report on your desk and work backwards, allowing for collating of the data, writing of the report, design and printing.
  2. Tell a story – Engage with your audience, what are you trying to say, is this a journey of how the organisation has improved or how your message is being sent. What was the aim and how did you get there.
  3. Use infographics – Make your data visual. Create charts, tables and infographics to highlight key financials and achievements.
  4. Go digital – As well as a printed copy use the content to create digital versions of your report for online use, as a downloadable pdf on your website or using snippets to create content on social media platforms and for use in HTML emailers.
  5. Get people involved – Show key people what you are planning and doing, don’t leave it to the last moment just before going to print. Get people on board at an early stage to ensure a smooth project and to minimise those last minute changes.

The don’ts

  1. Overcrowd information – Too much information in one hit can be confusing boring, and dilute the key message. Keep it short and in manageable chunks, making it easier for the viewer to consume.
  2. Underestimating the power of design – So much can be done to help create a report you can be proud of. Good design will create an annual report that is engaging, informative and is on brand, bringing life to an otherwise mundane document.
  3. Be generic – Don’t produce the same thing year on year. Show progression by updating the design; this demonstrates an ever-evolving document and company.
  4. Use jargon and buzzwords – Keep it plain and easy to understand. No need to complicate things.
  5. Forget to include calls to action – Your annual report is another marketing opportunity so use it to promote your company. Include links in your report to your website and any other supporting social media links and articles.

If you’re planning your next annual report and would like to discuss how you could do it differently, get in touch below – we’ve two decades of experience in brochure design and have produced a wide range of materials using different formats, materials and bindings.

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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.