New Design Trends that are Being Used to Create Impactful Annual Reports

Team members collaborate on a UI/UX design.

With everything else that needs to be done in a company, it goes without saying that the average annual report design is often overlooked. For this reason, the typical company annual report is wordy, filled with industry jargon, and simply boring. You don’t have to treat your annual report as most companies do and treat it as a formality. It can be used as a channel to catch the interest of potential investors, help secure business partners, and act as a branding vehicle. They key is to use great design to present information that is engaging.

A great way to center your annual report design is with a powerful story. You can center the report on your brand’s core story or if that has been overdone, center it around the most fascinating and relevant story your brand has gone through this year. This gives you a foundation on how the report will be structured so that you can piece together all the imperative information about your company.

There are multiple ways to design the report. Some companies have used fold outs, 3D pages, die cuts, and other unusual ways to design their pages. Some companies have turned to extreme measures such as using pop up graphics to capture the attention of the reader and present a novelty. But these design ideas may not suit every company’s image or tastes.

The one thing that seems to be a common theme in all the well-designed annual reports is the use of layout and formatting to increase the readability. Headlines, sub-headlines, bullet points, information boxes, and graphical cues are being used to not only to attract readers to consume the content, but also to lead them throughout the report so that they don’t miss the most important parts of the report.

One effective trend is the use of specifically designed infographics to present complicated data. In a typical annual report, data is presented in a linear way to provide insight and analytical comparisons. But companies that are really focused on creating great reports are using the infographic format to present the data in a meaningful way. They’re making it easy for the reader to consume the data while also selling the importance and value of the data.

Another trend is the use of colors, bold typography, and custom photography in the reports. The use of photography can really aid in helping tell a company’s story, particularly when the photography is relevant and original. Bold typography and varied font sizes helps make the words pop while making everything easier to read. Colors are also strongly being used to help draw the eye into the content and transition into other parts of the content. Not only is all of this visually appealing, it helps convey the value of the report.

As you can see, using strong annual report design can actually help make your report impactful. Sometimes it’s just a matter of rewriting and redesigning the report rather than recreating the whole report altogether. What ideas do you think you can use in your next annual report? How will you use design to sell the content in your ideas?