I bet you looked at the graph before you started reading this. Of course you did. People’s eyes are drawn to graphics – especially within a sea of text. So, how effective do you think your annual report is (or any data driven material) if it’s presented like a high school book report? Correct, about as effective as hammering a nail with a penny. You’ll be lucky if anyone reads it, let alone appreciates or comprehends what you are trying to convey.
Data is Exciting!
Your company did great last year. Your profits have grown, you came in under budget, you implemented new plans, you’ve met your goals and projections and you have new plans for the coming year. The data and information within your annual report is exciting! You’re excited about it and anyone reading it should be excited about it, too! Don’t let the presentation of it kill the jazz.
“But, Nicole, we added some photos and designed the cover.” Not enough, my friend. Your cover may have enticed someone to open it, but then they heaved a little and closed it again. Page after page of text and spreadsheets and data and more text…and an image. Thanks for the image of the family with the dog, but that doesn’t tell me anything about your data.
The graphics within your annual report should illustrate the data you are presenting in a visually appealing, clear, and positive way. Using charts, graphs, infographics, data maps, pull quotes, icons, etc you are able to give the reader an overall understanding of the year’s results. Put it this way, if someone only looked at the graphics in your report, do they know what you want them to know?
Pump the Positive, Screen the Negative
One of the best things about this is that if there are less exciting or negative information (maybe you went over budget on your travel expenses…for the 3rd year in a row), data pull outs and graphics can help you direct the viewer’s eye away from the negative and focus on the positive elements. The way the graphs are created or what information is display will tell the viewer “this is the information you need.”
Layout is Important
Not only are the graphs and charts important, the overall layout and design should sing too. The full report should be enticing and encourage the reader to want to know more, to read on, and to understand who you are as a company. The images, graphics, and layout should ooze your brand and represent exactly what you stand for.
Here, let me help.
Need help with your annual report? Let’s talk about what you can do to blow this one out of the water. I’m excited to help you!