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I’ve been involved in lots of annual reports before with other design agencies and the creative thinking hasn’t always been applied in the final publication. Working with Touch Design has been different and ‘wow’ did they get it right! Our new annual report produced with Touch was one of those rare occasions when it just worked. The creative has really come through, the collaboration was great and we’re all really proud of the end result.” Rebecca Beedie, media and copywriting manager, Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust

We were obviously rather touched ourselves to hear the views of Rebecca on the annual report collaboration for their NHS Trust. It was everything as it should be, a great client who understood the creative approach and helped us apply it in a committed and enthusiastic way. Our approach with Derbyshire Community Health Services saw the production of an annual report that became a strategic symbol for their brand values and patient pledges. Striking colours, bold circles, bespoke images of staff proudly holding the patient pledges, and attention-grabbing infographics. Annual reports are a statutory obligation for many public sector and stock-market listed organisations but it is possible to turn that obligation into a celebration.

The staff loved the report because they were involved in it and through the process became owners of the relevant patient pledges. The imagery has raised the level of involvement like never before and as such has also been warmly received by the executive team. Touch Design were really easy to work with and I’m looking forward to our next project together.” Rebecca Beedie

We’ve produced health service annual reports for many years for many clients and always try to find the niche idea that grabs attention and provokes thought. However, we have also seen many other organisational annual reports over the years that fail to excite or engage, and sometimes and even worse, detract from the image and reputation of an organisation. So to mark our sponsorship of CommsCamp, the home of creative thinking within public sector communications, we have produced a handy list of top tips for producing annual reports as well as some of the pitfalls to watch out for. If you’re at CommsCamp, let’s have a chat about your forthcoming annual report. If not, give us a call, show us your last report and we can talk through more exciting ideas for your next publication.

Our annual report top tips:

  1. Don’t rely on (often over-used) stock images. Invest in some new images for your publication and photo library
  2. Think about the size and shape – not every annual report has to be A4 portrait!
  3. Text tells the story but sometimes information is more effective within an infographic
  4. Make sure your report is in keeping with your brand look and feel
  5. Reduce pagination wherever possible but if it’s more than 100 pages why not save money by just having the front and back pages designed?
  6. For long annual reports, consider designing up an easier read summary document that points to the full report on your website
  7. Embed video interviews within your report to make the story come alive
  8. Use images/infographics from your report as standalone discussion pieces on social media
  9. Focus on the narrative – what story are you telling within the report? Is there a common thread? Is it livened up by case studies or real people telling their stories
  10. Seek some help – welcome the views and ideas of colleagues and external specialists about how best or how differently to convey the information.

Touch Design are the proud sponsors of the comms2point0 ‘CommsCamp’ – an open space ‘unconference’ for public sector communications, PR, marketing and digital professionals – see www.commscamp.com

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