The number-one job of corporate report design is to clearly convey information to current or potential investors, shareholders, employees, donors, or even the general public. But a corporate report of any kind doesn’t have to be a bland piece whose only purpose is to serve up facts and figures. To make your publication fresh, interesting, and really stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to incorporate a variety of design elements.
If an image can convey your point, let it. These days, people’s attention spans are shorter than ever, so you’ll need to grab theirs as fast as you can. A large photo with action in it can often speak volumes. If, for instance, your organization helps build wells in Africa, which do you think is more likely to compel readers to act: a tabular listing of the number of wells built in each country or a photo of smiling children drinking and splashing around in fresh water from their well? Don’t make your readers imagine what your organization is all about, show them!
In a perfect world, you’ll have a hearty archive of photographs taken specifically for your organization by a professional photographer from which to populate your report’s graphic design. And while you will want to incorporate at least a few organization-specific photos, be sure to take advantage of low-cost, highly searchable repositories of stock imagery. Adobe Stock and Pond 5 are just a couple of great resources to find the perfect images to enhance your publication.
Compelling photographs are great, but sometimes you have to convey the numbers, facts, dollar amounts, global reach, number of people served, and so on. Using infographics to impart this information is a clever way to give your readers the facts they need while still catering to that shorter attention span. Infographics use graphs, charts, and pictograms to encapsulate data points into a single graphically expressed element or data visualization. A factoid such as “only 38 out of 1,000” might be difficult to conceptualize, but seeing 1,000 tiny dots with 38 of them highlighted in color makes that fact visually come alive in your corporate report design.
THE RIGHT TYPE
Throughout the publication—and on pages with large blocks of type in particular—use a typeface that exudes authority without getting in the way. You’ll want to match the character of the typeface to that of your organization.
Choosing a tried and true serif font such as Adobe Garamond or Century lends a respectability to the publication. That trusted approach will be most felt in places like the CEO’s letter and financial analysis pages. That’s not to say that the content or typeface need to be stiff and lackluster, though; if your organization is more youthful and lighthearted, you might consider a sans serif font along the lines of Gotham or Proxima Nova. Type’s main purpose is to convey the tone of your message and deliver information without calling attention to itself.
EXPRESS WITH COLOR
While you will most likely work within the realm of your corporate color palette, you can always seek out and add colors that enhance your publication even more. Start by adding a couple of colors that complement the standard palette. If you need help picking colors, there are online tools to guide your color choices, such as Adobe Color and PineTools’ Complementary Color Picker.
When applying colors from your newly curated palette, remember to keep colored text to a minimum, letting it signal headlines or items you wish to emphasize. Add in colored graphics or elements—such as callout arrows and divider ornaments—to highlight concepts and add visual interest. When it comes to color, though, remember that less is usually better, and sometimes black and white can make a striking visual impact.
MAKE IT YOUR OWN
The information in your corporate report represents the facts and figures your investors, stockholders, or clients need to have. But how you choose to display this often dry, straightforward data can make a huge difference. Putting time into how your report presented information will go a long way to creating a memorable publication.
If you have publication or annual report design needs, please reach out to our design agency for price estimate at 301-933-4062, or fill out our contact form.