Closing comment – confessions of an annual report addict



It’s annual report season, which means thousands of words flying across desks of communicators and their C-level colleagues, globally; gigabytes of photos culled into a final collection; and graphs of countless shapes and colours constructed.

I’ve always been a fan of a good annual report. Give me a standout one and you can lose me for hours as I consume the financials and narratives which go into painting a positive picture of the organisation’s performance over the previous year.

You’ll find me pouring over the document from cover to cover, devouring the carefully crafted words, and eagerly eying the images clearly capturing moments in time defining the organisation and its stakeholders.

Like a box of Liquorice Allsorts, annual reports come in all shapes and sizes. Here are five examples (from across the spectrum) to give you a little inspiration:

From print to digital – the evolution of an annual report by Bates Creative

Over the past four years, the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington (YMCADC) has partnered with Bates Creative to find creative solutions for publishing its annual report. Each year they build upon their previous year’s work as they push the envelope a little bit further. Follow their journey from paper to digital – it’s rather cool!

Elegance, class and innovation – A cosmetic giant’s annual report

White space. Full page images. A double-page spread with a glam shot of the board! And a narrative that makes you want to pack your Vuitton and join the creative forces continuing Mrs Estee Lauder’s legacy.

Up, up and away – Qantas goes digital

“Shaping our future” is the title of the 2014 Qantas annual report and it’s delivered as an interactive website. You can fly through the sections and delve into the detail or enjoy images from rejuvenated lounges to the renewed fleet. Obviously a need for some creativity when presenting major results such as Qantas did this year!

An international voice for women – clear priorities

The annual report for UN Women is published in English, Spanish and French. So, that’s the first tick for an international organisation. Second tick: it’s structured to profile the organisation’s five key priority areas. Third tick: images of real women from around the world!

An apple a day gets the investors to stay

Like many organisations, Apple have expanded their annual report to encompass an investor relations section on their website. Like the Apple website, it’s clear, easy to navigate and builds on the brand’s strong iconography.

You’ll find so many tips just by reading these reports and the millions of others produced annually all around the world.

To start, why not head to this Pinterest page devoted to annual reports!

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