With the end of the year rapidly approaching, the time of annual reports is upon us. Many businesses chose to recap their year by publishing an annual report to their shareholders and financial institutions.

Most businesses think of annual reports as a purely financial document, and while that is a part of it, there is a lot more to a great annual report than just dollar signs.

Designing an annual report that not only tells the financial story but the whole story of your company, will go a long way. An annual report can include pictures of events or fundraisers you hosted, trade shows you exhibited in, even a Halloween party you threw for your staff. By showing a human side to your business, you produce an opportunity to re-connect with your supporters and partners.

When writing and producing an annual report, it’s important to marry the graphics and the content. A good annual report design should ensure that your business communicates effectively with its readers. Telling the story of your past year with a combination of words and graphics ensures that you keep readers engaged and informed.

In order to guide the production of an annual report, there are a few questions that are important to answer. Whether you produce your report in the house or hire professionals, these questions will help guide your vision:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What do you want readers to take away from the report?
  • What is the tone you want to strike?
  • What do you want the end result to be?

Producing an effective annual report design is both a science and an art. When working on this year’s annual report, make sure you understand what your end goal is and how you’re going to get there.