COMMENTS ON CREATIVITY
What makes an annual report score 10 points in this category:
“Out of the Box” Thinking. Investors who read handfuls of annual reports often find that many blend together because of similar design, language, and style. Annual reports that rise above the fray by tactfully doing something unique do a much better job of instilling message retention with readers. This can be anything from an unusual footprint (11” x 8½” is an inexpensive example) to one-of-a-kind format (map, magazine, newspaper, engineer’s design pad, Dr. Seuss-style book, etc…)
Memorable Messaging. There are many ways to tell a story. Standard annual report fare is, well...standard. Creative books use different voices (customers, employees, celebrities, cartoon characters, mascots) and different devices (photographed bags of money instead of bars on a chart to demonstrate cost savings) to make the ordinary extraordinary.
Trends we noted this year:
Vibrant Visuals. Ordinarily, an annual report finds its color on some headers and pictures, and that’s about it. More and more books, though, are more fully utilizing the creative process to create engaging visuals that flow from page to page throughout the book. This can include use of watermark images, unique styling (e.g. a journal or road map), or even just with sectional stylization.
Wow Us. There’s a growing gap between books that ‘wow’ed us and those that didn’t. It’s clear that some reports are run of the mill and produced because they have to be. Others come across as being passionate about the company and its story—there’s something exciting going on. Make sure your investors read the latter.