How to create a powerful company annual report

Spinach tone of voice and messaging for Camelot

The company annual report plays a pivotal role for the brand. Created professionally, it acts as an excellent tool for internal communications, for informing staff and stakeholders about the business, its finances and ambitions. And it can help promote the brand externally; it may even move markets, start a media frenzy, inspire confidence across the board.

The key is in how it’s created. Needless to say, a successful annual report is organised logically and designed to be engaging. The information contained within the pages, be it in print or digital, needs to be easily understood by all internal staff, by clients and potential customers.

One of our key specialisms is in helping companies compile and create annual reports. From our studio in London, the team work with international businesses to produce bespoke annual reports with clients who include Applegreen, Camelot, Smart Energy GB, Globaltrans, DIPex and the Bestway Group.

Our work typically involves professional layout theory, expert design and copywriting, and specialist photography to craft reports that are unique to each brand, bringing the year’s activities to life in print and digital format.

To understand more about the process, we asked Spinach partner and creative director Adam Thomas to explain his approach.

You work extensively with companies to help create their annual reports. What is your initial approach?

The starting point is always ‘why’. We understand that having an annual report is pretty much mandatory for most of our larger clients, yet the activity of producing such a strong brand piece opens-up a great opportunity to promote the organisation through different content and design.

How closely do you work with the client’s internal team when composing these reports?

Working closely with our clients is essential to us. We follow a proven internal process which includes extensive workshops with the team to extract the necessary client information, before starting to form our conceptual opinions.

How important is the design in communicating these reports?

It really depends on the client’s motives. We are, of course, a creative agency, yet we take an intelligent approach to all our projects. This means treating the application of graphic design carefully. Great typography is mandatory, and clarity through page structure and template is a given, but the graphic design of these reports is to be approached with care. Clear and relevant infographics, well-chosen photography, a strong copy direction – these elements are essential for our annual reports at Spinach Branding.

The companies you have worked with come from various industries including finance, property, software, gaming and retail. How much should the annual report design and content reflect these diverse businesses?

It is hugely important, as it is an extension of their brand identity. Often clients come to us with previously produced reports which feel totally isolated from the rest of their corporate brand. We always get to the heart of the brand first – then craft an annual report to expand on the corporate identity.

What positive impact do these annual reports have on the client and the business?

They help management and staff understand their own business better, put their company in perspective, and act as a great reference for investors. In many organisations, the annual report can be their only key piece of marketing, so they need to be handled with care.

How important is it for brands to invest in creating professional annual reports, and do you see this as a growing trend?

Yes, companies are increasingly seeing the importance of investing in thoughtfully-designed and specially created ‘on-brand’ communications such as the annual report. What is also very interesting and exciting to us is the emergence of the online annual report, which we are doing more and more so for our customers. The digital version allows for improved navigation, additional video content, dynamic infographics, and more interactive experiences.

A digital version also has the advantage of being able to be updated regularly, and the company can be selective in which parts to show to external businesses.

Absolutely. I think we will see more interest in these types of online annual report publications over the coming years.

What do you feel Spinach Branding brings that is unique to the table?

Our studio brings creativity and energy that excites and engages the client, supported by professional expertise and a great deal of attention to detail. Ultimately this means our clients can depend on us when it comes to producing their annual reports.

Take a look at some of Spinach Branding’s annual report projects here.

Photography: Spinach Branding for Camelot.

Spinach Branding is a specialist branding agency based in London. We work with established businesses and start-ups around the world to build and refine their brands. See how we work and get in touch to discuss your brand.

Camelot 2019 annual report by Spinach Branding
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