The year is almost out. It’s time to look back at your achievements as a business or organization.
Annual reports are a valuable documents for teams to analyze their growth, their highs, their lows and their goals. But annual reports can also be pretty dry.
If your report is boring, you run the risk of people not bothering to even read it.
But if your annual report is visually-engaging, it will grab the attention of readers and hold it. Not only that, but a well-designed report can also communicate the information more effectively than a bland, basic report. You can visualize data, include your branding, and incorporate your team’s personality into the design.
Plus, if you start with an annual report template, you don’t need to be a trained graphic designer to create a memorable report! Use a template as a base and incorporate your own information, visuals, color schemes, fonts and more.
Here are over 20 annual report design templates you can use now to create an engaging report.
1. Use an eye-catching background color to make your annual report design engaging.
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. You can use white boxes on top to ensure that your text stands out.
Take this annual report template with a green background:
2. Use accent colors to highlight important information.
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 blue and magenta is used in this annual report design template:
3. Size your budget report template to fit in a PowerPoint slide.
Many companies hold a year-end meeting to go over key metrics, achievements and goals. Create a slick presentation that will hold your team’s attention.
Bright colors, bold fonts, charts, and images are all elements of a successful presentation design:
4. Balance your report by “dividing” the page in half.
Part of creating an effective slide for your 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:
5. Color code your data to make it easier for people to scan.
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:
6. Play around with unusual page layouts.
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.
Take this annual report template that follows a zig-zag path and uses circles to present data in a quirky way.
7. Use greyscale photos to help your color motif pop.
A hack for designing a professional annual report is to make your images greyscale and use one bold color accent color.
For example, the greyscale images in this annual report template go well with the bright blue used for visuals and key information. The result is a sleek, cohesive report design:
8. Use icons to emphasize key data points.
Icons are the perfect way to visualize ideas and highlight points.
9. Pick a bright color scheme to attract readers’ attention.
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.
Take this annual report template that makes no apologies with its bright yellow color scheme:
10. Use a thematic background image to make your report design engaging.
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 report template uses an engaging cloud background:
11. Use simple charts to summarize data.
A well-designed chart can communicate information in five seconds or less. If you have a lot of data to report for this year, let that data drive your design by incorporating plenty of simple but effective charts.
For example, this annual report template uses three kind of charts in one page:
12. Create a one-pager to summarize a key metric.
While your full annual report may be pages and pages long, a one-pager than 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 annual report design template:
13. Create a flow chart to visualize processes.
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.
Take this report template that uses icons to make the points in the flow chart more memorable:
14. Include brief descriptions for charts if necessary.
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:
15. Use pictograms to present data in a creative way.
Pictograms use icons to represent units of data. They’re a fun, creative and different from your standard chart. Pick icons that reflect the theme of the data you’re visualizing.
For example, this annual report design template uses umbrella icons in a pictogram measuring rain in a year:
16. Separate your annual report design into sections using block headers.
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 your annual report page more readable.
This annual report design template uses a simple white background with bright pink headers:
17. Create a quirky illustrated header for your annual report design using icons.
Images and icons are perfect for helping to tell the story of your business’ past year. You can actually 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:
18. Use bold header fonts to attract the eyes of your readers.
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 annual report template that uses a slightly funkier font in its title:
19. Use photos that will elicit an emotional response from readers.
At the heart of every business and organization is the people who built it. Help tell the story of these people by using emotionally evocative photos.
For example, this nonprofit annual report design template uses a photo as the background:
20. Highlight both business and work culture achievements in your annual report.
Sure, this year may have been a lot of work, but there was some fun 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”:
21. Give your annual report design template a thematic motif.
Was the year marked by a lot of forward progress? Did you overcome some major obstacles? Design an annual report that reflects the year’s overarching theme.
For example, you could do this by using mountain imagery to reflect overcoming obstacles. Or you could use road imagery to reflect forward movement, like in this annual report template:
22. Decorate your annual report design with icons and images to make it fun to read.
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:
23. Leave enough whitespace to make your annual report readable.
Whitespace is the empty space around elements on the page. When text and images are crammed too close together, your design can look cluttered and bed hard to read. But when there’s enough white space, your text and images can breathe.
This report template gives you plenty of wiggle room: