Make data meaningful with graphic design.
You don’t have to go as far as 3D-printed graphs, but it’s important to present data in a clear and compelling way. This is especially true for negative findings. Be clear about the facts, and then pivot to solutions. Clean iconography, strategic use of color, and clear labeling can bolster your argument.
To avoid overwhelming the reader with graphs, create infographics to show data in the most reader-friendly way — which you can make in an app like Adobe Illustrator. Begin by sketching out different ways you might visualize the data. Develop a visual hierarchy, so the most important information stands out, and arrange the information in a way that guides the reader’s eye through the story you’re telling.
Design for clarity.
Never forget that the primary purpose of every annual report is to convey important information. An app like Adobe InDesign is one way you can create the page layout you want from scratch. You can also use an annual report design template from a resource like Adobe Stock. As you’re designing the pages of the annual report, keep in mind these basic design principles.
- Begin with a summary page that sets up the information to come.
- Use visuals to capture the attention of your audience and clearly separate different sections.
- Choose typography that makes the report easy to read and understand. Simple fonts are best.
- Use white space to add clarity and emphasize the most important points.
- Make sure every photo or graphic adds something new to the content.
- Edit copy down to its essential core. Where possible, use a graph or chart in place of a paragraph of information.
- If you’re going to use one color, stick to it. If you choose multiple colors, use no more than three.
Team up for success.
Design apps, like those available in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams, can help you create icons, charts, and graphs to make your case. And a program like InDesign, with in-app tutorials, can help with the layout of your report.
To make use of your annual report’s creative assets in other design projects, store them in a shared resource. Creative Cloud Libraries is one option for this, ensuring assets are quickly and easily accessible to your whole team.