11 Jan, 2019

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In 2019, Annual Reports have come far from being merely a legal requirement, and go beyond an aggregate of balance sheets. They are an opportunity to narrate a company’s financial and operational performance, while presenting the brand’s unique stature and culture. In an increasingly stake-holder driven world, Annual Reports form a critical communication tool that if appropriately designed can bolster delight to all relevant readers.

While the objectives of Annual Reports remain the same, the content and design trends have evolved. More efforts will be made to engage the stakeholders and humanise the content.

With Q4 upon us, and the end of the year rapidly closing in, we thought we’d round up important design trends you can expect for Annual Reports in 2019.

Good design will become hygiene

Traditionally, Annual Reports were intended for ‘reporting the numbers’. But that’s not all there is to it. While statistics are critical, all the numbers can look pretty bland after a few folds of reading. That’s where storytelling in Annual Report design becomes pre-eminent. A visually-engaging report underscores your accomplishments, and can be a powerful tool to highlight your company’s unique personality. Your report should be a culmination of facts, statistics, design and compelling writing that lets the reader realise the brand’s story. Don’t just report, narrate your story. Be bold and don’t shy away from trying something new.

One of our clients- mJunction is India’s largest B2B e-commerce company, and is a venture promoted by TATA Steel and SAIL. Clutched in the middle of the recession, mJunction looked to design an Annual Report that reflected their fight against the turbulence it faced. While the numbers looked weak, we used a battlefield theme to present their financial story, and redesigned it into a printed report that spoke of courage in troubled times. Non-comformist storytelling such as these, will gain increasing momentum in the area of Annual Report design in 2019.

Digital Annual Reports will be increasingly explored

Traditionally, the term ‘Annual Report’ prompted thoughts of multiple pages of printed format. But with the pervasiveness of digital tech, Annual Reports are increasingly inclining towards the online space, and more importantly to the interactivity it allows. Online reports also enable use of video, animation, and more format of communication to boost engagement. Further, the ability to track reader activity on digital Annual Reports, is another riveting factor why digital mediums will be increasingly explored.

Humanising of brands will be pivotal

There’s no better way to showcase a company’s personality, than by the people steering it. Performance oriented high-impact human images can enable the drama your report deserves. By humanising it’s stature, brands can look authentic and go beyond being just a faceless corporation. Lasting relationships are established through human-human connections, so lifting the curtain is important.

New colourful minimalism will continue to advance

Conventionally, minimalism was linked with neutral and bland colour schemes. This year will see the rise of a new colourful minimalism. While designs will be trimmed down and made efficient, expect to see more bursts of colour. A fresh kind of minimalism is going to develop. One that is influenced by colour and imagination, instead of muteness and conformity.

Customisation of content elements will thrive

Companies are looking for new and unique ways to set themselves apart. The shift from cookie-cutter graphics to custom icons and illustrations in brand communication has already been set in motion. This will continue to accelerate in 2019. In the pursuit for strong brand, unique content elements is tremendously valuable. These are not likely to be replicated too, further enforcing the brands distinction.

Annual Report design professionals will be hired

Out of all the trends for Annual Reports, this one is bound to up your position. With the increasing pursuit for capital advantage amongst competing firms, IROs are increasingly contracting Annual Reports to communication/design professionals. We specialize in designing Annual Reports that are easy to access and designed to delight. No more multiple RFPs or quotes from multiple vendors, quarter after quarter, fiscal after fiscal. We are here to deliver it all, all year round.