Handsome, clean annual report design
Introduction and The Ask
From 2010 – 2015 MillerCox provided design and print layout services for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s (FRB) year-end annual report. The annual report reviews the Bank’s operations, highlights the Bank’s activities during the year, and presents financial statements. The report is read by leaders of both national and regional financial institutions and must convey permanency, authority, and thought leadership in the national and regional financial communities.
Preparing a publication for print involves a whole skillset aimed at making sure the results are what you expect. This preparation starts before you’ve hit “New Document” and goes on past the point of choosing “Export.” Open the lines of communication with your print provider early and involve them at key points along the way. Whether or not you create an actual checklist, you should at least have an idea of the items you’ll want to address before you start the project, while you’re working, and just before sending it off to a printer. BEFORE YOU START Select a print vendor before you even start creating your publication. You will want to communicate to them what format the final piece will be provided in, as well as any considerations for binding, paper selection, and inks to be used. If you don’t have a clear idea of the finished piece, this READ MORE »
When creating a print publication such as an annual report or policy report, give your font selection as much consideration as you give content, copy, and image choices. A carefully thought-out type plan will serve to convey your report’s message without drawing too much attention to the typefaces themselves. You don’t have to be an expert in typography to make wise choices, as type has been around a long time, giving you plenty of examples to draw from. Remember when choosing the best font for print publications that the main purpose is to offer readability and legibility to easily convey a message; your type should facilitate—not distract from—that message. If you want to give off an air of traditional class and authority, you might opt for a serif font. These tried-and-true typefaces are easy to read, taking advantage of their serifs—the small, decorative strokes at the end of a character’s READ MORE »
Choosing the Best Annual Report Layouts In a previous blog post, we discussed defining the purpose and audience of a publication, which in turn informs the format that would best bring the report to life. These days, discussions of format often result in a print-versus-digital showdown. Oftentimes, clients are quick to jump on the digital bandwagon simply for the reason that it’s new and buzzworthy. While a digital format certainly comes with several advantages, don’t discount the benefits that a printed piece still delivers. It’s also quite possible that your particular publication would benefit from living in both print and digital form, with the help of great design. TRIED AND TRUE: PRINT Printed material is such a ubiquitous presence in our lives that most people don’t give it much thought. Because it is everywhere, designers often have to find ways to make a piece stand out from the crowd. When READ MORE »
Designing a publication from scratch can be a daunting task, and you may not know where to start. Taking the following factors into consideration can help you create a roadmap for your annual report, policy report or impact statement and can help inform your design choices along the way. PURPOSE Before diving into a new publication, you’ll need to give some thought to the purpose of the finished piece. Is its main purpose to inform members on facts and figures—such as an annual report or policy report—or to convey the mission and backstory of a trusted nonprofit to potential donors? Maybe the publication will accompany the company’s annual fundraising event. Make it clear to everyone on your team what the focus of your publication is. AUDIENCE Going hand in hand with the idea of purpose is the potential audience. Who will consume your publication? Once you’ve determined a purpose, a READ MORE »
Fresh and modern Branding for the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium Website and Print Collateral Design Introduction Every two years, trade ministers and other senior officials gather at the World Trade Organization ministerial conference to negotiate details of ongoing multilateral trade agreements. Alongside this ministerial-level meeting, the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) hosts the Trade and Sustainable Development Symposium (TSDS). TSDS is the leading multi-stakeholder platform for intellectual inquiry and dialogue on sustainable development and the global trade and investment system. Over the last decade, it has provided a platform outside of the WTO negotiating setting for sharing ideas, engaging in dialogue, and influencing trade policy negotiations. Our client, the ICTSD wanted to maintain and increase the TSDS’s reputation as the go-to venue for thought leadership, while incorporating fresh and modern branding for the event.
Any pub designer who has worked on a publication for days, weeks or even months knows the sheer terror of worrying that his/her InDesign file has become corrupt. It happened to us this week. Here are the steps we went through to restore the INDD file to better health, and what eventually was the key to saving it. We restarted our Macs and INDD. This is always the best first step. We did another “save as” to clean up the file. We do this throughout any project at least a few times a week, so this didn’t fix the issue. Next we recomposed all of the text using the keyboard shortcut Command-option-/. Sometimes this works, but this time it didn’t fix our super-slow issues. Most senior pub designers cringe when they have to delete their preferences. We do. But we did it because we know sometimes this works. When we started up INDD, READ MORE »
I had the pleasure of attending an AIGA panel discussion on design return-on-investment (ROI) for nonprofits at the offices of the Human Rights Campaign in DC this week. AIGA pulled together a terrific panel to discuss this complex issue. Much of the discussion defaulted to nonprofit design projects (after all, we are designers), yet there were still a few pearls of wisdom in the discussion. While many nonprofits equate ROI with donations, at least two of the panelists work for advocacy organizations, and they mentioned that design is core to their brand and everything they do. ROI is about how they are changing policy, not raising donations. This design team faced a dichotomy of pleasing policy experts while at the same time, their bosses were asking them to make the creative “cool.” In advocacy nonprofits, ROI can be measured by whether they become and remain the go-to authority on a particular issue. This can be accomplished through both outreach and education, and can be READ MORE »
For the second year in a row, I attended the Nten conference put on by the Nonprofit technology network. Once again, I met amazing leaders in the nonprofit sector doing terrific work to solve some of our world’s most difficult challenges. I also had the privilege to serve the attendees by presenting a session entitled “Emerging Trends in Annual Reports”. Presenting with me were Sheri Chaney Jones from Measurement Resources (her new book will be released by Wiley later this year) and Yasmin Nguyen from Vibrance Global. Our session covered three ideas: Stop counting hamburgers! Sheri explained how to implement a measurement culture that emphasizes strong performance and measurable outcomes. Yasmin showed us all a simple way to take and upload video using his iPad, a tripod, and YouTube. I demonstrated simple ways to add interactivity to PDFs, and an easy way to post your annual report content online using a READ MORE »
On the rare occasion that I find a quiet hour at home to relax, I reach for a beautifully designed magazine. Whether it is Mindfulness, Real Simple, or the latest issue of Oprah, they have one thing in common: they are tangible. I know I can view them on my iPad, but ink on paper is much easier on my eyes. If you are wondering whether you should print your next annual report in addition to distributing it digitally, consider that major donors still expect an annual report in their hands. Costs vary, and prices are estimated by considering the following factors: 1. Quantity or print run. (How many will you be printing?) With traditional print methods, the start up costs are great, so incremental quantity increases result in marginal cost increases, so print as many as you think you will need, without skimping on the quantity. 2. Length (number READ MORE »
6 Strategies for
Proven steps to keep publication projects on track, eliminate surprises, and ensure successful outcomes.