Annual reports are a crucial part of any business. However, too many businesses find themselves overwhelmed at the end of a financial year, leading them to deliver second-rate documents. Endless spreadsheets and columns of text may capture the key details you are looking to get across, but they do nothing to engage an audience or bolster brand identity.
Why Good Design is Important When Creating Reports
When it comes to compiling annual reports, those all-important figures can’t be ignored. However, if you want your annual reports to communicate more than statistics, you need to be considering report design. A well-designed report will not only summarize key figures and data sets but also make them far more accessible to stakeholders and demonstrate how they can be leveraged for the future. Many companies find it hard to think creatively when composing reports. However, by utilizing a few key techniques, you can redefine your approach to reporting and yield significant benefits for your business.
Good Design is All About Accessibility
In the past, many businesses relied heavily on printed reports. While many stakeholders still appreciate the more traditional approach to annual reports, these historic formats can be hard to digest. Furthermore, it’s tempting for those compiling the reports to overload end-of-year documents with surplus information that adds little value.
If you’re looking to embrace a more accessible approach, you should consider migrating your annual reports to digital formats. Creating digital documents to complement printed annual reports is an easy way to present key findings in an accessible format. Making use of an online report maker is a good way to usher in a move to digital formats throughout your business, while also making historic reports easy to retrieve.
Make Use of Visual Elements
If you’re rethinking the design of reports, make sure you are embracing visual elements in a big way. Infographics are perfect for breaking up successive columns of text and ensuring readers remain engaged with key content. These elements are useful for introducing key data to new stakeholders, especially if you are comparing performance against previous years.
Annual reports can also be used as a marketing tool to engage stakeholders and secure their continued commitment to your business. In addition to hard facts and figures, make sure you are illustrating business achievements and adding the personal touch. Corporate photographs and other imagery have a place here if used sparingly.
Use Design to Bolster Your Brand Image
In addition to being an effective marketing tool, a well-designed report can help strengthen your brand identity. When creating a new report template, consider key brand elements like persona, mission objectives, and core values. All of these can inform the aesthetic of your design template and successfully reinforce your brand identity on the page.
Once you’ve determined all of these elements, it’s fairly easy to design a visual theme that’s sympathetic to your brand. Even basic factors like consistent use of typeface and color will improve consistency and ensure your documents strengthen your brand identity.