Ideas for inspiration when designing a report

No matter what type of annual report you’re doing, you can get inspired and stay up to date on design trends by checking out the sample annual reports on Behance.

Сorporate report

This print project for Associated British Foods by author Beth Sicheneder is concise and informative, combining photos and text with clear pictograms and data visualization. Please note that the first page provides a brief description of the company and its mission.

Non-Commercial Report
This annual report concept for the Toronto Symphony is truly inspiring. The expressive brush strokes in the report represent the dynamic music of the orchestra. Designer Eunice Joaquin explains: “The concept embodies passion, fluidity, mobility and freedom.”

Creative design

For its rebranding, Global Fund for Children asked designers to finalize the annual report as well. The graphic designers updated the corporate identity and incorporated new graphics and vibrant colors into a stunning visual presentation.

Creative packaging or format
The JurongHealth Campus asked Darling Communications to produce an annual report that truly represents the organization’s eight-year history. As a result, our Jotter Book report, bound in triple rings in a folder, combines full-size images, handwritten notes and sketches that tell the story of this hospital.

You don’t have to spend a fortune printing and binding your annual report. See how the report for Amnesty International Hong Kong in 2011 was designed. It was compiled in the form of a newspaper dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the organization, so I really wanted to pick it up and treat it like a fresh newspaper. The bright yellow marker draws attention to the most important details and numbers.

Interactive and online reports
Online reports are more environmentally friendly than printed reports, and companies can track how often people view them. They also open up more room for creative design and presentation. In the 2014 Annual Report, Microsoft’s IT department focused on responsiveness to user requests across devices. Readers learn about the company’s success through animated statistics, interactive graphics, illustrations, and original photographs. The 2012 report for the Dutch Public Utilities Board includes an animation and a water comprehension test.

Achieving success when working in a team

Design apps, such as Adobe Creative Cloud subscription apps for teams, let you create icons, charts, and graphs to meet your needs. And InDesign, with built-in guides, can help you design your report layout.

To use creative solutions from your annual report in other projects, share them. One way is to use Creative Cloud Libraries to provide quick and easy access to resources for the whole team.

It is not absolutely necessary to create 3D graphs, but it is important to present the data in an understandable and attractive way. This is especially true for negative results. State the facts clearly and then move on to solutions. Neat pictograms, strategic use of color, and clear labeling will add credibility to your argument.

To avoid overwhelming readers with charts, create easy-to-read infographics using an application like Adobe Illustrator. First, sketch out different ways to visualize data. Define a visual hierarchy so that the most important data stands out and organize the information so that the reader sees the story you’re telling.

Formatting for better understanding

Remember that the main purpose of an annual report is to present important information. The Adobe InDesign application is one of the tools for creating page layout from scratch. You can also use the annual report template from Adobe Stock. When creating the pages of the annual report, consider the basic design principles.

Start with a brief summary of the content of the report.

Use visuals to grab your audience’s attention and clearly delineate sections.

Choose a well-read font to make the report easier to understand. Simple fonts are the best choice.

Use white space to highlight the most important points.

Make sure each photo or illustration adds something new to the content of the report.

Edit the report version, removing everything unnecessary from it. Whenever possible, present information using graphs or charts rather than text.

If you’re going to use one color, stick with it. In the case when the choice fell on several colors, use no more than three.