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How to design an annual report [+ Template & Examples]


Annual reports provide a comprehensive overview of your business’s annual performance. Since the content in these reports is so heavy, it is essential to present it in a way that helps your audience understand and visualize your successes.

These reports also incorporate different design elements that support your metrics and create a unique, creative, and visually compelling story of your business operations.

In this post we’ll outline annual report design best practices, provide a template you can use to create your own reports, and go through annual report examples. From other businesses you can use for inspiration.

What is the annual report?

As an added bonus, the annual report is a document created by businesses that show their annual performance, including their successes and challenges. It provides an overview of operations and strategies and delves into key performance metrics.

Annual reports differ from weekly reports in that they cover everything and everything that happened in the past year, including what you’ve covered for weeks, months, or any other type of report. that you have done.

Designing an annual report is a careful process, as it is important to find a balance between strong graphics and clarity and understanding. Most reports contain data visualizations, like charts and graphs, to enhance the experience and really draw attention to impact metrics.

Below, we’ll provide a template that you can use to design an annual report for your business, and outline the sections that should be included in every report, regardless of industry.

Annual report design template

The template you choose to use to design your annual report should be based on your individual business needs and the metrics you hope to include.

However, you can tailor most templates to suit your business needs, like this sample provided by HubSpot. The image below has two pages from the downloadable template, including the company overview and annual performance analysis.

copy of annual report

Image source

The template lets you dive into the aspects of the business that the annual report will discuss, whether it’s the annual sales performance or marketing campaigns. However, there are specific factors that need to be included in all annual reports, and we will discuss them below.

1. Summarize your annual goals and strategies.

The first part of your annual report should summarize your annual goals and strategies. This gives your audience an overview of your annual focus and provides the information needed to understand and contextualize the rest of your report.

It basically sets the tone for the rest of the report as it explains the intentions behind your activity. If you’re a marketing business creating an annual report, this section can outline your marketing goals and the campaigns you’ve created to achieve those goals.

2. Outline key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals.

Another part of your annual report should outline KPIs you used to measure success. This is really the focus of the report, as you are showing the results of your year activities.

Aim to use charts, graphics, and any other creative design elements, as they will increase the impact of your words and really prove the importance of your data. For example, let’s say one of your overall goals is to increase ROI across all channels. While you can certainly explain that Twitter’s ROI has grown 15% year-over-year, a graph that visually displays the difference between the years paints a clearer picture of success.

A robust annual report is a full annual report, so this section may also include an analysis of challenges and expected outcomes, in which you explain areas where you may be struggling. towel in achieving your goals.

3. Explain key takeaways and make future recommendations.

While the above will go into great detail, it can also be helpful to include an extensive summary of the most important elements of your year. You can spend this time focusing on the metrics and campaigns that you consider most important to your stakeholders and audience to know.

You should also aim to make recommendations for future businesses based on your findings from the current year, which may be valuable in terms of attracting support from your stakeholders. agencies and groups that you hope to work with in the future.

Below, we will discuss best practices for designing an attractive and visually informative annual report that contains all of the information mentioned above.

Annual Report Design Best Practices

The intentional and clear design will help you create a visually appealing report that attracts attention. Consider best practices for designing your annual report.

Incorporate branding.

Since the report is specific to your business, incorporate the branding to let viewers know that the report is specific to your business.

Brands also aid awareness and let viewers know that you have the successes, challenges, and overall metrics explained in the report.

Use powerful images.

As mentioned before, a high quality report incorporating images helps in understanding your metrics. Take special consideration to create images for the most influential, important content, such as annual sales.

Make use of colors and fonts.

Another way to make sure your reports catch attention and leave a lasting impression is to use colors and fonts to draw attention to important information. The difference between a common metric and a great metric called color can help you keep in mind a lot in your audience’s memory.

However, it is essential to find a balance between design and content.

Don’t be too busy.

While you can (and should) incorporate different design elements into your annual report, keep in mind the standard. design principlesand don’t overload your report with unnecessary colors and graphics that will distract and obscure the indicators you are sketching.

A report that’s busy, crowded, and contains a variety of different fonts and colors will be more confusing and won’t leave the impact you want it to leave. Make careful decisions and make sure your choices focus on showcasing successes, not simply making the report look good.

Annual Report Example

Check out some examples of high-quality annual reports that you can draw for inspiration.

Google Annual Variety Report

Google 2020 Annual Diversity Report is a high quality report.

The report starts with a high-level overview of Google’s efforts to increase corporate inclusion, diverse goals and images that demonstrate the results of their efforts and show their commitment to the mission. . The image below is a visual depiction of their various recruiting efforts YoY.

google anual 2020 diversity reporting recruitment data page

Image source

Ablynx

Ablynx is a pharmaceutical company that has taken a unique, innovative approach to annual report via 3D chart. The image below is an example of the charts they used to create visual representations of where the largest number of trading shareholders are to represent the market growth of their business. .

ablynx annual report page displays a chart showing the geographic location of their shareholders

Image source

Duni

Duni specializes in table setting and takeout packaging for restaurants and global businesses. That is annual report Simple, clearly organized and minimalistic but still uses colors, images, and various design elements to enhance word impact.

The image below shows their year-on-year financial goal growth that captures the audience’s attention with large font, color, and line chart visualization.

duni annual report page shows the annual financial and business ratios compared to YoY growth

Image source

Annual reports paint a picture of success

It’s essential to understand how to create an annual report that captures the successes of your business and incorporate design elements that emphasize the meaning of your words and allow your audience to understand, visualize, and move on. Earn your achievements.

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