Where have all the report designers gone?

by Reg Pauffley
Download as PDF Many of the reports are full of very good content and some are well written, however the overriding factor for me this year has been the lack of really outstanding design. Designwise, not that many of the reports are truly compelling or engaging. Is it lack of budget or are designers suffering from too much compliance, or is it confusion between off and online?
It seems to me that we're going through a period where competition for the audience's attention is greater then ever before, so reports need to be working harder than ever before to grab that attention and communicate effectively. I'd like to highlight some that I feel excel from a design perspective and, at least for some, put this up to their content.

I'm going to start with LVMH (France), a report which really captures and reflects the personality and nature of the business. You might of course expect a luxury group to produce a stylish report, but this continues to surprise at every level. It makes use of excellent photography and typography to create a powerful, high quality piece of design. The cover is stunning.

Next is AkzoNobel (Netherlands), where the designer has created a report bursting with energy through the use of graphics, colour and photography. It's a good example of a landscape format that works, it's user friendly and not too long either - 160 pages in total, which includes a 20-page sustainability section. Make sure you look at the online version too as this is one of the -rare- examples where the print and the web reporting vehicles supplement each other finely.

How for a German group? Here is AUDI. A report which is beautifully produced (although typically long). It charms with a variety of visual styles, held together with clean, informative typography. The result is that the audience is presented with an engaging journey through the report. An elegant, stylish report that truly reflects the brand values of the company.

Daiwa House is a Japanese based group. This report uses the management vision of "Connecting Hearts" as its overall communication theme and conveys this in an authentic way throughout. The designer has created an intriguing pace to the flow of the information, aligned with an all-embracing sense of calm. Ultimately, the report invites the reader to become involved with the content at whatever level that suits. A sensitive and revealing piece of design.
Daiwa House

It's a cool beer next in the shape of Heineken (Netherlands). Here the designer has used a bold graphical style of illustration mixed with photography to support the story of the business. The report is lively and exciting and convincingly projects the brand essence and marketing style of Heineken. It's got great read appeal.

Now on to Danone (France). Here is an outstanding example of a magazine-style annual report. It's very reader friendly, both from the design angle and the way it's written. It provides an excellent level of insight into the company, the way it works, its strategy going forward, its beliefs and its values. It's a very effective, well designed and compelling piece of communication.

Let's end on a sweet note. Tate & Lyle (Britain), a striking example of a predominately typographical annual report. The designer has used colour and typography well to produce an informative and easy to read annual report. The result is a simplicity that works. No easy task!
Tate & Lyle

Let me know what you think and how much you care about good design at: reg.p@creativeconsortia.com.
Read also my web pages and comments on corporate reporting on: http://whosdoingwhatincorporatereporting.com

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