Annual reports may sound boring, but they don’t have to be. With an appealing design, annual reports can be a powerful promotional tool by drumming up enthusiasm for your company or organization./
You don’t need to be a graphic designer to create a compelling annual report design that will impress your stakeholders. All it takes is the right report maker tools — and the right annual report design templates.
Keep reading for our 55+ top annual report templates and examples (free and paid included), plus some design secrets you can apply right away.
Click to jump ahead:
- Corporate annual report templates
- Small business annual report templates
- Nonprofit annual report templates
- Marketing annual report templates
- HR annual report templates
- Government annual report templates
- Actual annual report design examples
- Annual report design takeaways
- FAQs about annual report design
Short on time? Here’s our video cheat sheet on how to create an annual report:
Corporate annual report templates and design tips
Corporate annual report cover design
What overarching theme would you use to describe the past year?
When creating an annual report cover page, ensure that it reflects the theme. Right off the bat, readers will get a sense of the story you’re about to tell.
The cover page design will prime them for the rest of the information to come.
You should also make sure your annual report cover page reflects your business brand. For example, this free annual report template uses different icons of people and pets as it’s for an animal rescue organization:
Pro-Tip: Venngage’s Brand Kit feature makes it easy to import your logo, brand colors, and fonts with a single click! Upgrade to Business to test it out.
Geometric annual finance report template
You don’t need to exclusively rely on images to set a visual tone, however. You can also use color!
In the free annual report example below, a vibrant color scheme is introduced on the cover page. Each of the following pages then features a single color from the original palette, maintaining a cohesive look unexpectedly.
Here’s another good example of a creative annual report template:
Fresh and creative annual report design templates stand out from traditional alternatives.
Modern financial report
The budget season can be a confusing time for businesses. How much has been spent in the past year? How much should one predict for the upcoming year?
A modern annual report, like this example, simplifies the process for the finance department. By using pie charts and bar charts, the report shares a wealth of information at a glance.
For financial projections for the following year, you can use this free annual report template:
Your annual financial reports don’t have to be one pagers like the report infographics above. They can stretch into two or more pages like this financial statement analysis template — with the first page being the cover page, perfect if you want to export and use it in a presentation:
Notice we said you could use this in a presentation? With a Venngage Business plan, you can download your annual reports in PPTX format — and use them with your desired presentation platforms like PowerPoint or Google Slides.
If you want to test us out before upgrading, a free Venngage plan also allows you to present your design — with the Preview function:
Pro tip: Use the real-time collaboration feature to make your annual report with teammates. Get instant feedback and share comments in real time. Learn more about how to use the feature here.
Bright corporate annual report template
You don’t have to use neutral colors or corporate blue just because everyone else is. Show how unique your business is by using a bright, bold color scheme in your annual report.
Annual report design templates, like this example, make no apologies for their bright colors.
A financial report, like this template, would be a great fit for a bright report design. Though packed with numbers, the clean layout makes it easy to read and understand.
Detailed highlights annual report
You may have sections that include a lot of text or a lot of data visualizations. That’s okay as long you organize it well.
This detailed highlights annual report example uses a portrait layout and dynamic text formats for all the content.
The sections in these annual report templates consist of multiple data points but remain easy to read.
Colorful year-in-review report template
Many companies hold a year-end meeting to go over key metrics, achievements, and goals. Create a slick presentation of an annual report infographic that will hold your team’s attention.
Bright colors, gradients, bold fonts, charts, and images are all elements of a successful presentation design or data infographic:
Simple year in review annual report
Icons are the perfect way to visualize ideas and highlight points. You can use icons to emphasize specific points on a chart or to draw attention to important text.
Take a look at how icons are used in creative annual report design templates, like this example:
Annual shareholder business report
This simple annual report design uses simple icons to differentiate between different types of shareholder returns:
Related: 50+ Business Report Templates Every Business Needs
Financial budgeting annual report infographic template
Flow charts are perfect for visualizing processes, timelines, and connections between information. Simple flow charts can be used in a presentation slide, while more complex ones can take up one (or even several!) pages.
Our flowchart maker can help get you started with creating handy flowcharts.
Take this report template that uses icons to make the points in the flow chart more memorable:
Corporate company report infographic template
If your charts require some added context, be sure to include a brief description.
For example, take this report presentation slide that uses a description box with the same blue as the bars on the chart to indicate that the audience should read the paragraph to fully understand the chart:
Marketing analysis and business strategy report template
Pair dark colors with bright colors for a bold design. Not only do contrasting colors look good, but they can also help you highlight important information.
For example, showing an important statistic in a bolder font than the other text on the page will help it to immediately jump out at readers.
Take a look at how contrasting dark shades and light shades are used in this free annual report template:
Basic company growth infographic report template
Part of creating an effective slide for your simple annual report presentation is finding the right balance between text and imagery.
Drawing an invisible “line” down the middle of your slide is an easy way to guide your design.
Put your chart or photo on one side of the slide and text on the other, and voila:
Quirky illustrated annual report design
Images and icons are perfect for helping to tell the story of your business’ past year. You can use icons to create a quirky graphic illustration!
For example, this report design template uses icons to create a little city scene in the page header:
Infographics are great for turning data into engaging visuals that anyone can understand. Plus, there are a ton of ways that you can integrate them into your reports, especially if you mix them with well-designed icons.
Check out our beginner’s guide to creating infographics for more tips.
Bold annual report charts template
Grab readers’ attention with a big, bold header font. While you will probably want to keep the rest of the text in your report relatively simple, your headers are places where you can get more creative.
Take this simple annual report template that uses a slightly funkier font in its title:
Corporate performance annual report design
Often enough, what an annual report design is missing most is some color.
Pick a bright color. It could be your brand colors or a color that reflects the theme or “mood” of your annual report. And use that as the page background.
This green annual report template with a green background similarly uses white boxes to help the text stand out from the background:
Pro-Tip: Use the Venngage chart maker to create comprehensive charts for your annual report. Import data from an XLSX or CSV file and start editing your chart.
Customer service annual report example
Annual reports have a bunch of different topics to cover. A small thing that you can do to help the reader navigate through the labyrinth of info is to use an intro page or section.
A bit of context will give readers a clearer understanding of what the section covers. It could be as simple as a single sentence, or a short paragraph.
Creative annual report templates, like this example, give you plenty of wiggle room:
Corporate customer activity report template
If you want to separate your page into sections, using colored headers is an easy way to do this. Just draw a block line across the page to help your header pop. You could even color-code your headers to make a simple annual report page more readable.
This report design template uses a simple white background with bold blue headers:
Bold one-pager industry report template
While your full annual report may be pages and pages long, a one-pager that summarizes key information is a great accompaniment to create. Pull the most important or noteworthy information and make that the focus of your one-pager.
You could, for example, choose to hone in on our key metric and visualize it in a chart, like in this free annual report design template:
Small business annual report templates and design tips
Retail year-end annual report template
In each section of your annual report, you’re introducing a new topic. To help introduce the new section, use a decorative section header that illustrates the topic of the section.
For example, this free annual report template for a retail business uses images in the headers that reflect key pieces of information from each given section:
Branded year-end annual report template
Since your annual report tells the story of your company, make sure that the design reflects your brand’s personality. That can mean more than just incorporating your brand colors. Use font styles and images that reflect your brand’s personality.
For example, this annual report design has a light and playful look. The style is appropriate for a family-friendly burger joint, with rounded fonts and plenty of icons:
Bring color back into your annual report
In case you hadn’t noticed the recent graphic design trends, but bold colors are making a comeback. This isn’t something only hipsters are using. Massive companies like Salesforce and Zendesk are embracing the trend too.
This annual report design uniquely embraces colors through the use of images and icons. The three main colors (blue, yellow, hot pink) repeat throughout the report design, making it pop:
Vibrant engineering report template
Ditch the dull office color grays for an engineering report that’s bright and attractive. Vibrant colors draw much more attention than something that looks formal and plain.
The key to using vibrant colors is to leverage contrast to make your text pop. You don’t want to lose your content in the bright colors of the background. This vibrant engineering report template uses grey and black backgrounds wherever there is text, to offset the bright teal throughout the design. However, for charts and other data, the vibrant color works just fine.
Business executive report template
When it comes to design, repetitiveness and consistency are two different things.
When your report design is repetitive it means each page or slide looks like the one before. That’s boring.
When there is design consistency, it means certain design elements appear throughout your report. It provides a sense of order as the content continues to change. That’s fun.
Take a look at the executive annual report template, for example. Every page looks different and shares distinct information. However, the icon tile pattern appears throughout. It’s a neat design touch that’s engaging and looks professional, without getting boring.
Modern annual report overview infographic template
It can be hard to keep readers engaged in a long, multi-page document like an annual report. But you don’t have to keep it that long — your report can be a one-page infographic too. Just like this template:
Visual infographic annual report design
Use icons and illustrations to draw the readers’ eyes to certain parts of the page. That could mean including an icon in the page header, using a row of icons to divide off a section of the page, or using illustrations to make concepts easier to understand.
This report template incorporates the peach theme into both the visuals and color scheme:
Small business budget report template
If one of the pillars of your business is creativity, reflect that in your annual report design. Play around with unusual page layouts and surprising design elements. Our post on presentation layout ideas should help spark your creativity.
Take this annual report template that follows a zig-zag path and uses circles to present data in a quirky way.
Yearly company performance report templates
For a more minimalist annual report design, use a neutral background and use bright accent colors to highlight important information. For example, you could use color to highlight keywords, key data points, and header text.
Take a look at how different shades of red and orange are used in this free year-end report template:
This template also uses colors to create a harmonious design — the colors used in the table coordinate with the ones used in the top photo:
Nonprofit annual report templates and design tips
Here we’re going to show you loads of examples for nonprofit annual reports, church annual reports, nonprofit annual report infographics, nonprofit treasurer reports, and more. Let’s dive right in!
Colorful gradient nonprofit annual report template
Your nonprofit has a compelling story to tell, but overloading your annual report with images can cause it to get lost in the shuffle.
Instead, consider adopting a more minimalistic design approach and letting your text shine.
This nonprofit annual report template below puts the text front and center with bold, modern typography.
A vibrant gradient overlay prevents the design from looking stale, especially when paired with images. The overall effect is fresh and modern.
Illustrative nonprofit annual report template
When designing a nonprofit annual report, be sure to put what matters to your brand front and center.
This example dedicates a whole page to the people it has helped, and how. Plus it makes use of charts to highlight its financial success.
Simple nonprofit annual report template
One of the most essential inclusions in your nonprofit annual report is the impact of your work. Whether your organization is dedicated to helping people, animals, or the environment, look for opportunities to showcase the difference you’ve made over the past year.
You can always use charts and infographics for data visualization, but your annual report will have a bigger emotional impact by featuring the real people or communities behind the statistics.
The nonprofit annual report template below puts a face to the organization by featuring one of the individuals they’ve supported right on the cover page.
Illustrative church annual report template
When you create your church’s annual report design, ditch the business-y look for something fun and playful.
Aim to reflect your community and space. You can do that with the diverse set of icons from our icon library. Illustrated icons of people and buildings add a playful touch to your design. You can also use icons as labels or headings for different sections.
Don’t forget to add charts and graphs where you need them to visualize your data.
Vibrant church annual report template
You can also take a modern design approach with your church’s annual report. Bold color overlays paired with stock photos are a current trend. That simple touch elevates your report design to that of a professional designer.
This church annual report template stands out through the use of color, stock photos throughout, and icons. The use of purple for overlay, headings, and icon colors helps to tie everything into a cohesive design.
Church engagement annual report template
Infographic reports are a great way to summarize your church’s annual report. These types of infographics highlight the most important takeaways about your church’s performance over the year. An infographic report can be sent out to your email list, included in presentations, or even printed out and shared in meetings.
Here’s an easy-to-edit church infographic annual report, pairing icons with financials to make data jump off the page. One quick scan and your readers have a good idea of how productive the past year was.
Modern nonprofit infographic report template
A nonprofit infographic report helps you summarize your nonprofit annual report. You end up with a neat, captivating visual that can be shared with board members, donors, and your social media followers.
To reflect the nonprofit’s entire impact that year, this nonprofit infographic report crunches the numbers and visualizes them.
A great stock photo, high-contrast colors, and a few choice icons help the data jump off the page. Even with a quick scan, readers of the nonprofit infographic report can tell that the past year was a winner.
Nonprofit annual report infographic template
At the heart of every business and organization are the people who built it. Help tell the story of these people by using emotionally evocative photos.
This nonprofit infographic annual report combines the image of a woman holding a child with actual statistics behind their work. A white semi-transparent overlay ensures that both the image and text are visible, while the icons provide visual interest.
Equality nonprofit treasurer report template
Your nonprofit treasurer report design should be anything but boring. You’re sharing important financial information, and want to make sure the information is clear and easy to understand. That’s why the design quality of your treasurer report matters.
A high-quality stock photo makes for a great report cover when it’s the right one. Consider your nonprofit’s mission, and try to tap into the human element, when choosing your cover photo.
This nonprofit treasurer report template uses a photo that shows a sense of togetherness and unity. If your report’s cover photo is generic and unrelated to your organization, it’ll be less likely to engage your audience.
Purple nonprofit treasurer report template
You can think outside of the box, even with your nonprofit treasurer report design. You can use stock photos and color to create something eye-catching and interesting.
This nonprofit treasurer report template uses stock photos throughout the design and applies a purple overlay on each page to pull the design together. This way, while the content, layout, and visuals change, a single color helps unify the design.
Simple nonprofit treasurer report template
If toying around with bold and creative designs is outside of your comfort zone (for now), you have nothing to worry about. You can still come up with impressive designs for your reports.
This simple treasurer report template just uses bold colors for each page and flat icons. It’s straightforward, but still eye-catching. The conservative use of text on each page, along with the large fonts and negative space make the report easy to read.
Simple nonprofit budget report template
Your organization’s operating budget is crucial information. It impacts the entire planning of all your activities for the coming year. So it has to be very clear, simple to understand and accessible to your staff.
You could just share a boring spreadsheet, but that won’t impress anyone. This nonprofit budget report template has an official, on-brand design. It incorporates the organization’s logo, flat colors, and bold fonts for a document that’s super clear. It also highlights important values to make them easier to distinguish from other figures that are listed.
Purple nonprofit annual report template
You don’t have to use super complex data visualizations to make the information engaging. If you’re not a data visualization expert, you run the risk of confusing your readers.
But a simple data visualization can be engaging, and helpful in communicating more clearly, like how this nonprofit template uses half pie charts to show its funding sources and expenses:
Nonprofit impact report template
Make use of contrasting colors and bold text to highlight the impact of your nonprofit organization:
Marketing annual report template examples and tips
Year-end marketing report template
This annual review design template uses different style charts. Because the colors are repeated, however, the charts look consistent and professional.
For a more in-depth guide to picking the best charts for your data, click here.
Corporate advertising annual report template
If you want to emphasize certain pieces of information or break up an expanse of text on your page, color blocks are an easy fix. Pick a neutral color that will allow text to stand out, like grey or a light shade.
This annual report template uses red and grey color blocks to create various page layouts:
Fun corporate marketing report template
Have fun with your marketing report design.
You can draw creative inspiration from your brand. Consider your brand’s voice or your brand’s visual collateral.
Does your brand use professional stock photos, sophisticated icon art, or playful, illustrated icons? Are the colors in your branded content vibrant, subdued or neutral?
These are all factors that should influence your marketing report design. This corporate marketing report template presents highly relevant information in a way that is aligned with the brand.
Real estate market report template
When you create a detailed, in-depth marketing report, organizing information simply is a challenge. You want to avoid creating a report that is dense and difficult to scan.
This real estate marketing report template is a great example of balancing a lot of content through design. It uses a layout that alternates between text-heavy sections, and sections reserved for data. This helps you create a report that is predictable and manageable for your readers.
Social media marketing report template
In the Venngage editor, you can access massive high-quality stock photo libraries from Pixabay and Unsplash. Whatever you’re looking for, expect to find the perfect stock photo for your design.
Just check out this marketing report template below. This social media marketing report template looks sharp and professional because of the color palette consistency throughout the design – both in the content and the stock photos.
It makes for a very cohesive, finished look that appears less DIY, and more, “professional designer”. Don’t take my word for it, either. Try it out yourself and ask your team what they think of the final product.
Trendy social media campaign report template
This modern annual report template is another great example of choosing a color palette based on your stock photos. The hues of brown and teal tie into the stock photography used in the design.
Plus, since it’s a coffee brand, the warm brown tones make for a very fitting color palette choice.
Dark social media trends report template
Here’s one last, great example of how to use stock photography to inform your design.
This dark social media report template uses a crisp, high-quality photo of a smartphone screen. The title slide doesn’t even use an overlay to subdue existing colors.
The rest of the slide design incorporates black, and other bold colors throughout. This makes for a very commanding, attention-grabbing look. Plus, it’s easier to decide on a color palette once you’ve got the perfect stock photo lined up.
Social media marketing report template
Was your team’s main goal this year to reach for the stars? Did you turn your small team into a village? You can use images in your design to symbolically reflect those themes.
For example, this annual report template uses an engaging cloud background:
To learn more about marketing strategies for nonprofits and setting goals, check out our Complete Nonprofit Marketing Guide.
Digital marketing report template
Typically, you’re trying to pack a lot of information into your annual report. The readability of your annual report will have a lot to do with the design.
Color coding your information is a simple way to offer visual cues for readers to follow. Pick colors that have a logical association with the information.
For example, this annual report template uses colors to represent each social media channel. The colors reflect the brand colors of each social media channel, making the meaning easily recognizable for readers:
SAAS email marketing report template
Even with the right use of colors and icons, your page may feel a little blank. It may seem like it’s missing something because there’s so much space.
In those instances, incorporate a border design to create a sense of movement, dynamism, and texture. You can apply a border through the use of the icon library, or you can choose abstract stock photos to create background borders. That’s exactly what this SAAS email marketing report template does.
HR annual report template examples and tips
Employee progress annual report design
Bright and vibrant colors add a lot of energy and pizzaz to designs, but on a white background don’t stand out well. Rather than switch your color palette of choice, try a light background color. Not only is it a nice change from traditional black and white reports, your colors easily pop from the page.
This annual review template a variety of colors to distinguish multiple categories for employee evaluation. It also uses handy pie charts to visualize key performance metrics.
Year-end human resources report template
Check out this year-end HR report template. The playful icons and tiles are a sharp contrast to the background and grab your attention. The bright accent colors throughout the report design allow individual sections to stand out.
Bright employee annual performance review template
For your employee reviews to be consistent and fair across the board, you need to follow a structure. That’s why it’s a good idea to use an employee review template (check out our blog post with 12 performance review examples for ideas).
A simple table layout works well for this. This annual performance review template below, for example, has a clean and clutter-free design, with clearly labeled spaces to provide feedback to employees.
You can even color-code the sections to make them easier to read and understand. For example, look at this simple employee review template:
Government annual report template examples and tips
Modern national agency annual report template
Consistent branding across all of your government communications is important.
One way that you can ensure this is by using not only your company colors but also colors that communicate the “feel” of your company or organization.
This annual report template divides the sections in half and uses the brand color to highlight key information.
Year in review infographic annual report template
Sure, this year may have been a lot of work, but there was some fun to be had too, right? An annual report is the perfect place to highlight how your business has grown, financially and culturally.
This simple one-page annual report template highlights both work and the “fun stuff”:
More annual report design examples + tips
Want to see how visualized reports fare in real life? Here are the top examples of visually appealing and engaging annual reports you can draw inspiration from.
OzHarvest is a nonprofit that redistributes food to charities from restaurants and the like. They wanted to make sure their shareholders saw key numbers like how many meals were saved, their core message, and their mission.
By using big fonts and creative visuals like word clouds and charts, they can bring that key information forward. This is a good lesson in not being afraid to take up lots of space on a page.
In another example, a handful of families supported by the St. Louis Children’s Hospital were featured in their annual report. This helps put faces to the names and show that their donors and stakeholders are helping real people with real struggles.
This annual report example from Maine Tourism uses a ton of colors you would see in nature. If you haven’t been to Maine, the outdoors is a pretty big part of their identity.
All over this annual report, you can see natural colors in the greens and browns, but also the orange in lifejackets and fires, or the blues in lakes and the Maine sky.
Also, please note: there is no rule out there that says you have to use lots of colors. As we can see in this annual report example for a real estate company.
The designers used a bold red to bring attention to important charts or trends:
Click here for 35+ simple background images to add impact to your report.
If you want to create a memorable annual report you may need to change the way people look at things. Or in this case, they did it by physically changing the way the annual report was laid out.
As you can see in the example from Environment Waikato, they start this by creating a landscape-oriented report. Then, they take it to the next level by switching the way the text is printed on multiple pages. This causes the reader to change their perspective on the content.
Some annual reports take one of their most important values or mission statement and hide it at the bottom of the page. That means most people will skip over it without even noticing!
That isn’t the case with this annual report example from PEN Canada. They make sure you can’t miss what they stand for.
Each of these pages celebrates a different part of their vision. By using a large bold font they can illustrate that they aren’t messing around at all. The contrasting colors make it jump off the page as well.
You can also add an interactive or tactile component to your annual report design to make it stand out.
In this annual report example from Craft Victoria, they use their cover to add an extra little surprise for the readers. The cover can be transformed into a tactile experience with small triangular tabs.
The triangle motif also carries throughout the rest of their report, making for a cohesive design.
Now, onto some concrete annual report design tips:
Infuse your company or organization’s culture into your annual report design
Everyone probably knows what U-Haul is (if you don’t, they’re a moving company). The designer incorporated their business’ service into this creative annual report design.
First, it’s delivered like a package to the reader and it looks exactly like a moving box you would find at one of their stores. Plus, there’s bubble wrap! Then the table of contents is modeled after a packing sheet, using the same icons and visuals throughout.
Each page uses images and visuals that remind people that at the heart of everything, they are a moving company.
Create custom illustrations using icons
When you’re working within a tight budget, commissioning custom illustrations can be pricey. But you can use icons to create custom illustrations.
Pick icons to make up the pieces of your illustration, then arrange them into a little scene. You can use this same tactic when it comes to creating an effective annual report template. Keolis has done this in their annual report design to illustrate statistics.
Our post on icon stories will show you exactly when and how to create them.
Make each page stand on its own with unique designs
I know I just said that you should pick a singular theme and stick to it like a few points ago. But for every rule, there are a few exceptions.
In this annual report example from the STW Group, the theme changed from one page to the next.
This can work in an annual report because you’re covering multiple different topics in one document. That being said, you should still maintain some consistency throughout your annual report design, like the same color scheme or basic page layouts.
Organize your information into sections using borders
If you have multiple topics or components that you want to fit together on one page, using borders or block backgrounds in your annual report templates can help keep your design organized.
For example, take a look at how RLI Corp uses blocks of bold colors to help each section stand out on the page. This makes it easier for readers to scan the page for different topics.
Pick a design motif and use it throughout your entire annual report
This annual report example from Brunel shows how much impact a confident design motif can have on your design. In this case, they used big, red fonts for all of the headers, with the header text overlapping onto the body text.
It’s an unconventional design choice but it works because it’s consistent. If you’re going to use an unusual design motif, commit to it and use it throughout your entire report.
Another creative annual report example is this one from Grupo Bimbo. They use think lines to direct your eye. These direct readers from point to point on the page, which is another way to tell stories visually.
Visual cues like lines and arrows can improve the flow of your page design immensely. They’re useful for any design project you are working on. Whether it be an infographic or an annual report template, these subtle lines are a must-have.
Give your annual report template a thematic motif
Was the year marked by a lot of progress? Did you overcome some major obstacles? Design an annual report that reflects the year’s overarching theme.
If you’re struggling to create your own nonprofit annual report template, try looking at some of the themes that run throughout your company’s mission, product and culture.
The designers at the Hall Family Foundation used their volunteers as inspiration. Most of these people are the lifeblood of any non-profit so it made a lot of sense to start there!
They focused on a handful of action words that helped describe what these volunteers do. As you can see, a visual theme was created from those words that are featured on nearly every page.
Additionally, the annual report has these words printed on the cover, so the reader notices the theme from the beginning. This is a great way to introduce readers to your company or organization’s values.
Label your graphs, charts, and other data visualizations
Forgetting to label your charts is a common mistake that many writers make. But forgetting to label your charts can make your information confusing or misleading.
The designers at Capaccio Paestum avoided this trap by labeling all of their bubble charts and bar graphs. Additionally, when you use labels as they did, it helps even the newest stakeholder understand them in seconds.
Or take this annual report from Orgalime, which uses very straightforward but beautiful pie charts and bar graphs. Each example tells you what you need to know and makes it easy to compare between data sets. Simple but effective!
Include full-page data visualizations
Using the same annual report example from the Croatian Post, you can see how big data visualizations can make your annual report just that much more engaging.
If you have a particularly important set of data, like your company’s financial growth over the past year, you can feature that in a creative data visualization. This is an opportunity to incorporate engaging design elements like icons, pictograms, image frames, and bold color schemes.
Mix up your font sizes and weights
Consistency is a basic tenet of good design. But you can find ways to add variety to your designs while still maintaining consistency.
The people at Austria Solar mix up their font sizes and weights in this annual report example. But they still maintain consistency by using the same color scheme throughout the report.
Check this guide out if you want to learn more about selecting and using fonts.
Optimize your annual report for digital viewing
While tangible reports are nice, more and more people are opting to publish them and read them online.
The people over at Mailchimp have been doing this for a few years. Seeing as they’re a SaaS company, it fits their brand well and allows their report to reach a wider audience.
Plus, when creating an annual report virtually, you can include things like GIFs, videos, and other moving parts!
Take a look too at what The Warehouse did on a few pages of their annual report. They use an introductory page to lead readers into each new section.
Like the designer behind this real annual report for the fake company, Ace Airlines did on multiple pages.
Seamlessly incorporate photos into your design by making them grayscale
While photos certainly add to your annual report’s story, they can also distract from the text on the page. But if you use grayscale images or images with a color overlay, they can integrate much more seamlessly into the design of the page.
Take a look at how the Associated British Foods’ annual report integrates images into their pages.
Set a visual tone from cover to cover
In this annual report from Target, they set the tone the first time you look at it. On the cover page, they show exactly what the report is going to be all about: freshness.
The designers use pictures of fresh fruit and veggies throughout the report to give it a feeling of abundance. This puts the reader in that frame of mind from the beginning, showing them what to expect from the business.
Here’s another example. The designers from BHA took some of their important stats and combined them with icons. Combined with the primary color backgrounds, the design looks modern and in line with current design trends.
Additionally, because of the icons they selected, they can prep the reader for what the info is going to be about. For example, using the microphone icon to show that there were 2.7 million voices behind this annual report.
Let your company’s history influence your design
Everything about this annual report from Kennedy Space Center looks like it would be at home in the 1970s.
The annual report was published in 2010, but the design calls back to the center’s history, from the color scheme to the retro photos.
It all comes together to create a fantastic annual report example that NASA enthusiasts will love.
Go big or go home with your annual report
This year is all about taking big risks with your design projects. But I wasn’t thinking that would lead to something like Ablynx created for their annual report!
They decided to go big with their data visualizations, literally. Instead of designing them in a design tool like Venngage, they created them in the real world.
Using sticks, yarn, and earth they build the graphs and charts that will adorn their annual report. This is one of those things that their readers won’t forget anytime soon.
Another creative way to organize your annual report is to differentiate the sections by using different-sized paper. In this annual report example from GIA, they do just that.
When a reader moves from one section to the next they physically have to change the size of paper they are reading. It’s an unexpected and engaging way to frame your different sections.
Annual report design takeaways
Annual report design isn’t going anywhere. Even if you don’t have any design experience, you can create an appealing annual report by starting with an annual report template and applying some of the following design elements:
- Cover images that tell your company’s story
- Eye-catching background color to make annual report templates pop
- Decorative section headers
- Color blocks
- Color-coded data
- Different style charts
- Interesting page layouts
- Full-page data visualizations
FAQs about annual report design
How do you create an annual report?
The best way to get started is to use an annual report template. This will serve as a handy framework and drastically reduce the amount of time spent creating your report.
If you’re concerned that a template won’t make your annual report design look unique, don’t be! Once you incorporate your information, visuals, color schemes, and fonts, your annual report will look like a custom design.
All of these elements can be customized in the one-page annual report templates above. Plus it’s easy to change the charts and graphs to reflect your data
Read on for annual report design tips and 55+ templates. Click any of our templates to enter our online report maker tool to customize it. No design know-how is required.
What is included in an annual report?
Annual reports typically contain information like:
- A company or organization’s mission statement
- A company or organization’s growth (financially, product-wise, culture-wise)
- Various business segments
- Information about the company or organization’s directors and executive officers
- A company or organization’s impact on specific communities
- Milestones and success stories
The below annual report includes a summary of success stories from the chief, impact on specific communities, and a look to the future:
A lot of that may sound like dry information…but it doesn’t have to be.
If your annual report is visually engaging, it will grab the attention of your readers. You can visualize data, incorporate your branding principles, and express your team’s personality throughout the design.
For a more detailed look at what to include in an annual report, check out our annual report guide.
What is an annual report?
An annual report is an in-depth, comprehensive report that provides an overview of a business’s achievements and key metrics from the preceding year.
Think of it this way: an annual report is a perfect opportunity to tell your business’s story. Your annual report design can help you tell that story.
In some cases annual reports are mandatory, in other instances, they are marketing tools used to generate interest in your brand. Not only are they meant to generate interest among shareholders or investors, but they also present an attractive brand to employees, clients, and broader audiences.
Your business is on a journey, and your annual report design helps you tell that story effectively.
For an in-depth guide on what an annual report is, and all the different types, check out our explainer post: What is an Annual Report?.
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