Editorial Services

How to create a memorable Annual Report

An annual report doesn’t have to be a dense document full of dull statistics and financial data. In fact, in the digital age, the opportunities to create dynamic and engaging reports are endless.

Your annual report is the perfect opportunity to showcase your company’s accomplishments, ethos and future endeavours. Real facts and figures inspire trust – round it off with an engaging and inspiring story about your company’s people.

Here are some key considerations to create a memorable experience for your audience.

Create a visually engaging experience

Going digital means more room to get creative with your visuals. So, use design elements to communicate key information simply and effectively while telling your brand story at the same time.

With Lalela’s annual report, we crafted a design that speaks to the importance of its arts programme for at-risk youth. The vibrant colours contribute to the story of the positive impact on the children receiving support through this educational programme. Design elements like brush strokes and hand-written text create a visual link to the work Lalela achieves through the arts. Infographics, visual timelines, pull-out quotes and strong images work together to lighten the reading experience of the report.


Lalela AR 2021 mockups

Embrace the digital space

Reports typically contain a considerable amount of information and it can be difficult to navigate and digest everything. Create a clickable contents page in a digital report to take readers directly to the sections they are interested in. Engage readers with information that reacts to their hovers and clicks, and include links to relevant content like videos.

We created this digital Annual report for Lalela. It is easy to navigate and uses interactivity to engage readers.


Create a downloadable and interactive PDF

A downloadable PDF document has many advantages. Readers can view the report in their own time offline or easily print it to read it off-screen.

Interactivity doesn’t have to suffer just because the digital report is in a PDF format. After all, clickable links and subtle animations are still possible in a PDF document.

For readers who enjoy reading a digital document in a way that emulates a printed document, their needs can be accommodated with any of the readymade digital reader options available online such as ISSUU or Flipbooks, with which you can digitally ‘page’ through a report.

Regardless of the format you choose for your report – PDF or digital reader format – readability is vital. Nothing is more frustrating for a reader than information that is difficult to read. This is where clever and clear design comes into play. Our expertise in this area will not only provide your audience with a readable report but one which they enjoy reading too. Check out this flippable annual report we created for the South African Astronomical Observatory for an example of engaging content and easy readability.


Integrating online annual reports with your website or as a microsite

Creating your annual report as part of your website, or as a separate microsite, provides even more options for a dynamic reader experience.

Video, audio and animation content can be embedded in your site to create more compelling content. For example, to bring your CEO’s message to life, you could include a video message from him/her in your digital annual report.

Make sure to use focused keywords for SEO to open up your annual report to a larger audience. Create a “choose your own adventure” experience for your audience with navigation and design elements built into your online report.

You can get valuable data and analytics when your report is online. This can include information about who reads your annual report and how they engage with your content.

Optimise your report design for different screen sizes

Screen size issues are unlikely when your annual report is integrated into a website or hosted as a microsite. However, if you opt for a downloadable PDF, the correct format and design is paramount for reading experiences across devices. Check that the font size is big enough and that the proportions of the pages work with the intended device size. Make sure that the photos you are planning to use in the annual report are good enough quality and well composed. (You normally don’t need a fancy screen to spot bad lighting in a photo, so this will always be important!).


There are plenty of exciting and engaging ways to present your annual report – ask us to show you how.

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