Make an impact with your next annual report

January 2020

Your annual report is an important piece of documentation that provides an overview of your organisation’s activities and progress over the past year. This yearly report generally provides a wealth of information on strategic priorities, financial data, key milestones and plans for the company to keep your stakeholders in the loop.

However, this valuable information can sometimes get ‘lost in translation’, or simply overlooked, if it is not presented in an engaging and easy-to-digest way; a standard presentation of facts and figures isn’t always going to inspire or interest your readers, unfortunately!

The structure, design and format of your annual report should therefore be important aspects to think about.


Create a narrative

You are telling a story: your journey as an organisation over the past twelve months. Your annual report shouldn’t be seen as a compliance exercise, it is a chance to showcase the achievements and impact your organisation is having, as well as the people behind it all.

Like any story, it isn’t all plain sailing. Describe the journey your organisation has been on, weaving in a picture of the current landscape and highlighting the challenges faced. Following this, show your approach and what the company has achieved with the facts and figures to back it all up (in bitesize chunks!). Then bring it all to life with highly visual infographics, pictures and quotes.


Better design, better retention

Applying aesthetic elements will enhance the messages you wish to communicate to your audience and will keep them actively engaged in what you have to say. The design throughout your annual report can also help to reinforce your brand image and persona, helping to build trust and cultivate credibility with your audiences.

Although it’s important to stick with brand guidelines, there is still room to be creative. Consider reading 20-pages of heavy facts, figures and information – any reader is bound to become disengaged and skip a few pages. Inspiring design and visuals are proven to be incredibly influential when it comes engaging your audience, keeping them interested and helping to shape their perception of the organisation.

All in all, good design = better engagement.


Tell your story, your way

How your readers engage with your content will ultimately affect their perception of your organisation in a significant way. You may immediately think of a standard 24-page printed booklet, but you can tell your story in many ways:

  • Digital PDF booklet – this is a digital version of your annual report which can include interactive links, videos or podcasts.
  • Online flipbook
  • Posters and Infographics – these would feature snapshots of your annual report’s headline information.
  • Pictures, Videos and Motion Graphics
  • Interactive webpage or microsite featuring all the above

Also consider choosing more than one format for your annual report. You may choose to print your annual report but also allow it to be accessible online as an interactive PDF, and then supplement with a video, infographic.

For example, the introduction from the Chief Executive could be reinforced with a video of them speaking about key achievements and prospects for the organisation. Dull financial figures could be made into visual infographics or motion graphics that help to more effectively convey what the data means for the organisation and to stakeholders.

You may even choose different formats for different audiences. For instance, a poster headlining the top level information and stats may be more suitable for your staff, whereas a flipbook of more comprehensive information would be targeted at board members and governors.

Over the years, Cynergy have helped many of our clients with the design and print of their annual reports, take a look at some of our past work:


If you’d like to get a little more creative with your annual report, we’d love to help!