Five reasons we design awesome Annual Reports
Annual reports are a legal requirement, some in Kenya have taken this status of the Annual report to mean it should be treated like other company documents that are required by law and be given no design consideration at all.
Thankfully not all have this theory. Home Afrika contacted AKSENT with a firm view that we could create an Annual Report that was both pretty and useful to both Home Afrika and its shareholders.
We were excited to have this opportunity to develop an awesome annual report and in the process developed a list of five things we did differently.
1. Establish if the company will make any major changes soon
This step is very simple, but, often overlooked especially if the upcoming changes are more than a couple of months off.
To make sure we did not overlook anything, we asked the client three questions:
- Will you be launching any key products soon?
This is an important question to get answered because the annual report is an opportunity to push that product. If the is not yet released, you can whet appetites for it by doing a teaser, or hinting at the product by using a page to outline a problem the company will soon offer a solution to.
- Will you be moving soon?
This is obvious; the report will remain current until the next one is printed next year. That means that if the company is moving soon it is a good idea to put their next address in the report somewhere prominent, so that when shareholders are looking it is easy to find.
- Will you rebrand soon?
It is a good idea to find out from the company if it will rebrand soon because you do not want a document that will stay current for about a year to look out of date one month into its life.
With these bases you are covered, your annual report will have key information it will be used for at some point in its natural life and will look current to its death.
2. Determine what message the company needs to send to its shareholders
Annual reports present corporations with a unique opportunity to push a given message. Not the we are launching this product or that product message, but, one that is targeted more at the psyche of the shareholder than it is at anything else.
For the Home Afrika report, the message was we are working. Home Afrika wanted to communicate to its shareholders that right now, we are developing products, we are rolling some out and we are planning for others.
We focused this message by using as much space as humanly possible to cover future and current project in big spaces and bright colors. The overall message then was that this is how we have invested your money in the previous year and how we see it growing.
3. Select suitable colors
Often times, annual reports are filled with colors that do not reflect the brand or any of its tones really.
This can be avoided easily enough by consulting the brand guidelines that are usually adhered to whenever any other communication is being prepared.
We create a palette of five colors and tones directly taken from the brand guidelines.
The result? Whatever page you find yourself on while looking through the report uses its colors well to tell you that you are looking through a Home Afrika document.
4. Use easily identifiable brand elements on every page
Using color is very subtle, it reminds your reader subconsciously about the brand. The next thing that we do to make the document a truly a Home Afrika document is brand it with elements from the main brand.
These can be bold colours, actual design elements from the brand or well known brand associated elements, though it takes great skill to use the brand associated elements throughout the document.
For the Home Afrika Annual report we used a shape from the logo to frame the current page number.
The effect of that small addition is that even if the Home Afrika logo is not visible the use of a core element from it brands the page in a bold but tasteful way.
5. Keep readers first
Getting lost in doing design and searching for the best layout can happen very quickly.
Every time we make a decision on the layout of any of the publications we have had the luck to be designing, we always put the reader first, we consider how we hope to make them feel about what they are learning, what we want to communicate in written language and what we need to communicate visually.
Int the above example it made sense to put the table in sideways so it would be very clear to a reader, this, even though the design was the worse for that decision.
By Job Ballard
Have you got an Annual Report you need laid out with attention to detail and great care? Contact us here.