Published on March 6th, 2014 | by Emilie DesJardins
8 ways to be creative with your annual report
Annual reports don’t have to be boring black and white pages of numbers. Get creative when you print your annual report and you can create something that people actually enjoy reading. There is a lot of information to convey, so craft it carefully and use more than just words and numbers.
Your industry may dictate the extent to which you can liven your annual report, but think outside the box as you read the following ideas. You’ll be able to use at least a few of these, even in an uptight industry. Keep your audience in mind, but remember that people will be reading it. People don’t like to pour over dry word after dry word of data.
1. Add color
Color is one of the easiest ways to give your report some excitement. Just adding it to the cover will help, but creating thoroughly full color booklets is even better.
2. Send it through marketing
Your marketing department knows your brand and how your company portrays itself. Send your annual report through the marketing department to get a little life sprinkled into it. This will help it show your business’s spirit. You believe in your business and what it can do. Show that with more than just numbers. Show what your business can do.
3. Add charts
It may seem like a given, but keep this in mind throughout the report. Charts will help to show data much better than lists of numbers. Use them in unexpected ways to pack the most punch.
4. Add photographs
Don’t just tell what your company did last year, show what it does. A photo is worth a thousand words, and people will “read” those thousand words in an instant. Even if you aren’t a wordsmith, photographs will make you look like an expert speaker.
5. Create infographics
People have short attention spans. It is just a fact. Rather than letting your donors pick what parts they will read of your report, decide for them. Summarize your most important points and create an infographic with them. A colorful infographic beckons to be read and shows your organization is forward-thinking.
6. Wrap it with style
The cover can be more than just your logo. Design it to look like it’s wrapped as one of your products. A design of a ribbon or wrapping paper could make it look ready to sell. You could also literally wrap it in your sandwich wrapper, a dog collar, or shipping paper, however your customers would typically receive your product.
7. Add graphics
Simple symbols can help to break up data. Add them like large bullet points to help illustrate ideas.
8. Die cut booklets
Your annual report doesn’t have to be a rectangular booklet. You can have it die cut to a custom shape. How about a circle? A shoe-shaped report would be perfect for a clothing store. It would really peak some interest. Anyone who saw it would want to peruse what the inside had to offer as well.
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