Preparing to write an annual report can be a daunting task, but with proper planning and organisation, it can be a relatively seamless process. Here are our 10 tips to make yourself look like an annual report expert.
01. Present the Future
An annual report is inherently retrospective, but it should ultimately communicate an optimistic view of an organisation that is looking to the future. This may not need to be said explicitly – a stunning annual report can present a business that practices excellence through design, language, imagery and even the choice of paper stock.
02. Appoint an Editor
Consistency is key when it comes to annual report writing. It is likely that the text for your annual report will come from several different departments within your organisation. Having multiple writing styles, inconsistent terminology and messaging that is off-brand will appear unprofessional. Appointing an experienced editor to manage the overall editing of the document will ensure that there is one consistent, on-brand voice throughout. At Map Creative, we have editors and copywriters who specialise in corporate writing to ensure that we get the terminology and tone of voice right for our clients.
03. Use Infographics
Annual reports tend to be very text-heavy, so it is important to present large chunks of facts and figures in a clear and concise manner. A great way to do this is by using infographics. When done well, infographics can be a highly engaging feature of your annual report’s design and highlight the key takeaways that your organisation needs to communicate.
04. Engage an Experienced Designer
An annual report designed in Microsoft Word screams amateur. This is a celebration of your organisation’s hard work and achievements – now is the time to use professional designers and put your best foot forward. It is essential to produce a product that you, your colleagues and stakeholders are happy to be a part of. At Map Creative, we design documents that are highly engaging and enjoyable to read – anything less is damaging to your brand.
05. Use Professional Photography
The saying goes that a picture speaks a thousand words, so what does a poor quality picture say about your organisation? The best annual report designs feature inspiring, high-resolution, professional photography. If you do not have professional photography available, talk to your designer about an alternative approach.
06. Make it Easy To Navigate
Your document will be reviewed by numerous stakeholders including investors, government, industry specialists, staff and perhaps even the general public. It is unlikely that it will be read in order from front to back, with readers instead opting to review specific parts of the document based on what is most important to them. The best annual report designs ensure the document is quick and easy to navigate – for example, using colour to demarcate different sections such as colouring an environment section in green.
07. Proof Read
If you have had your head in annual report writing for weeks, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Having a professional proofreader who can give your document a final check before going to print will, we guarantee you, reveal some typos and inconsistencies that need addressing. At Map Creative, we have proofreaders who specialise in corporate communications.
08. Print or Digital?
Consider how readers want to consume the information. Annual reports can be produced in print, as a downloadable pdf, or as a web-based online experience.
09. Prepare for Amendments
Pre-design phase, finalise the copy and ensure it has been signed off by the CEO before commencing the design layout to reduce endless rounds of changes and save you time and money.
10. Schedule a Buffer
Expect late amendments from the executive team and schedule a week buffer.
Finally, get in touch!
Map Creative is a design agency with 20 years of experience in publishing.
Contact us for a free consultation for your next project.