COMMENTS ON REPORT COVER
What makes an annual report score 10 points in this category:
The “Wow” Factor. It’s the job of an annual report cover to convince readers to open the book. This can be accomplished by creating curiosity, offering far-reaching visual allure, or striking an emotional cord with the investor. We look for good use of inside covers.
The Gimmick. Gimmicks reinforce the message that this annual report is important and that the company behind it is something truly special and noteworthy. Examples of effective gimmicks include fold-out covers, unique formats (map, engineer’s notebook), embedded CD/DVD media, and die cuts. An example of a "bad" gimmick from a few years back is an embedded microchip playing a trebly tune of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” whenever the report cover is opened.
Trends we noted this year:
Heavy Use of Inside Front Cover. Most companies don’t make enough use of their reports’ inside front covers. This year was different—we saw a growing number of companies make use of the space to include company thumbnails; expanded financial tables that fold out; and even recaps of the firm’s accomplishments in the past fiscal year.
Unique Style. Report covers can’t appear as if they were simply formed out of stock artwork. More companies are becoming highly creative in their cover treatments, employing artists to paint company-relevant scenes; building lifestyle stories around the company’s customers, and the like.