What makes an exceptional annual report?

12 August 2019

filed under

  • _ annual report
  • _ design
  • _ G2Design

Annual reports are more than just letters from the C-Suite, financial statements, an overview of the industry you are operating in, and the market price of stock and dividends. It’s an opportunity to create a deeper understanding of the soul and purpose of your company. Your annual report contains a spectrum of data and information.




There is still something missing from annual reports



In an article for the Harvard Business Review, Graham Kenny stated that annual reports should reflect the wealth and health of a company. Where the financial statements reflect the wealth of the company, the relationship between a company and its stakeholders will reveal the health of the company. The relationship between a company and its stakeholders should, without saying, be a mutually beneficial one. Therefore, a key question they want answered is “what is the company doing for and getting from its stakeholders?”.


Countless companies rely on franchisees to be profitable. If the number of franchisees decreased during the financial year, shareholders might want to know why? Was it due to lack of support from head office or something else?


Customers form a strong force of a company’s branding (the positioning of a company in the mind of a consumer). Customers are the driving force behind the most powerful marketing tool: word-of-mouth. Therefore, it’s detrimental for shareholders to know how customer satisfaction is measured and act upon. Additionally, a company should also measure service satisfaction, products and price ranges.


Last but definitely not least, how was employee satisfaction measured? If employee retention was high, what was the reason? There’s a correlation between employee productivity and employee morale. Shareholders want to know how well the engine behind the company is looked after.


Combining design and data



Designers understand how readers digest this wealth of data and information. They consider numerous visual elements to create a natural flow throughout the entire reports and to paint a vivid picture of your company. These visual elements include infographics, charts, typography and, most importantly, the balance between white space and text. Displaying large pieces of intricate content require a functional and user-friendly layout.


When compiling all the information for your annual report, consider the golden thread. Your company has a purpose. This story should be an extension of our mission. Leverage this to demonstrate the impact you made on your stakeholders. Readers are moved by inspirational stories.


Readers also love (good) surprises! Consider utilising different formats when presenting your annual report.

  • In the age of being more eco-conscious than ever, why note build an interactive website like Rostelecom?
  • China Unicom incorporated 360-video for their 2017 annual report!
  • You could always add a QR-code on the specific page of your annual report which will take your reader to a video explaining the section in depth.
  • We are looking forward to the day where we could incorporate Virtual Reality!
  • Austria Solar’s annual report in 2012 was powered by the sun!

A memorable annual report



Our design dream team created a sustainability report for Old Mutual Emerging Markets (OMEM) which captured the heart of the client’s commitment towards a better, greener future.


The layout was well thought-through to present detailed information in digestible chunks by means of various visual elements. Our designers incorporated graphs, blocked text, tables, typography, colour and images to communicate the holistic theme: mutualism. Each visual element complemented the next to reflect symbiotic relationships between OMEM and its staff, environment and customers.


At G2Design, we are driven by creating strikingly beautiful designs which you can be proud of! By integrating flawless production, cutting-edge technology and meticulous attention to detail, we work together to deliver world-class annual reports. Contact us today to create your strikingly beautiful annual report.

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