As Annual report designers in London, we produce a huge range of annual reports, sometimes called annual reviews, for a wide range of clients. Annual reports – big or small – go through a typical process. The process offers opportunities and 'risks'. What that means is by understanding the process, clients and designers can work together to try to create a smooth, creative and outstanding Annual Report that speaks to the external stakeholders and the internal staff.
The brief is one of the most important parts of the Annual report Design process, and it starts with the client. It's not easy to write a brief, and to get it right, it is best to work with the agency. We'll help you. This is what should be included in the brief: Key messages, audience, number of pages, printed quantity, the number of infographics, creative steer and even examples of reports you like.
An inadequately detailed brief slows production and increases the risk of not receiving what you had hoped for.
We will ask you for clarification and pose questions that will help us understand the year's messaging is and your aims and priorities. The more we know about your organisation and the way you want to report your activities and financial data, the better our concepts will meet your needs.
Usually an agency is asked to produce a estimate before being awarded the work. After questioning we may be able to save money or advise on the nest way to produce the Annual Report. We may need to re-estimate, produce a schedule, production spec and ask for a PO or order. We may ask for a part payment at this stage.
4 days optional
We are able to advise on content and its structure, if you require that service. We will help tease out the important messages and create a content framework that best suits your messaging. This is sent to you for approval and then the content is either written to fit or re-purposed. We can supply word counts and guidance to your copy writer or provide copy writing as a service.
We will perform a round of creative with the whole team. We have a highly efficient and creative process for producing a massive range of ideas in a very short time. We will deliver at least three concepts, each with a cover and spread. We will deliver what you asked for, something else to consider and something you have never dreamed of.
We listen to your feedback and comments and make adjustments to the designs where necessary.
We collaborate with you to give you the best solution. Opinions are great, but a single vision will deliver the strongest results. Mixing concepts is never a good idea.
Once the final designs of a sample spread and cover have been agreed, we will seek written approval to proceed with that design and create a template for the report using style sheets and master pages. These will underpin the final designs. Each page will be designed individually. The accounts pages will adhere to best practise. At this stage we can use dummy content.
Before we begin producing the first full proof we will require final content in digital form. Text can be supplied in Word and accounts should be supplied in Excel, as should any data for charts and diagrams. Supply content and data in one go, in the order you would like to see it, with images marked where you would like them to appear. It is always better to delay providing content until it is as final as it can possibly be. using draft content does not speed up the process even if it might feel like it does.
The first full proof delivered to you as a PDF. This should be the entire report. After you have reviewed the proof, mark revisions and changes using ‘stickies' in Adobe Acrobat. Sending revisions via email(s) or in Word will take longer and are far more prone to errors. Gather all revisions into one document. Don’t re-supply the content edited in Word, that would mean we have to start again.
We will revise as instructed or advise against unwise suggestions. Page numbers must be divisible by four, for instance 4 page cover and 112 page text. If the document is not divisable by four, it will not bind. You can add 'notes'pages to get over this issue. Moving pages from left to right is additional work – it is time consuming and costly. We may have set 'chapter' pages to be on the right hand side, this means each chapter needs to fall to the correct page count.
Second full proof sent to client, the process is the same as with proof 01.
Text revisions undertaken, we will do our best to ensure these have been completed and be 100% correct. A member of staff who has not worked on the project will check the revisions have been made before a proof is sent back to you.
Third full proof delivered to client. At this stage proofs are often required to be presented to the board or auditors. We can supply a PDF of at a cost a printed document which gives a better understanding of how the final document will delivered. The relative unit cost for these is high.
Annual Report often require an large amount of changes, often in very short spaces of time. So three sets of revision may not be enough. We will advise costs before proceeding with any additional work and ask for your approval. Final set of revisions to the document. We turn around revisions very quickly and push the project forward on your behalf.
Once the final proof has been delivered, we will ask for written sign off from client. This means the responsibility for the content is with the client, for accuracy and being free from errors. This is an importnant stage.
After sign off, we will perform an in-house 'quality check', usually by the Director and a member of staff that has not been involved with the project. It cover a multitude of things, including; line endings, widows and orphans, kerning, image quality. It doesn't matter if you don't know these terms, all you need to know is that it is checked very carefully by professional designers. If there are thing that have been picked up, we will share these with you before changing anything and provide another proof for written approval.
We now prepare the files as artwork, adding bleed, checking gutters and making sure the report will print beautifully. Once the Pre-press files are ready, they are sent to the printer's repro department and go through a 'rip' which converts the file ready to make plates for printing. These are sent to us for written approval and we take care of that. Occasionally the ripped PDF corrupts and we work with the repro department to fix these issues.
After the PDF proof has been seen some clients require a high quality digital proof. This stage is optional. We will share the proof with the client and seek approval before the printing press starts running.
Litho printing and finishing can take up to 10 days. It depends on he job. Firstly the sheets need to be printed and wait to be dried, then gathered ready for binding, bond and trimmed. If there are any special finishes like lamination, foil blocking or die cutting, this will take longer. If we are printing digitally for short runs, the timeline is much shorter.
We will review a final printed copy before you see it. This is to ensure that the quality of print and binding is to the highest standard. We approve this copy and the printer then prepares the documents for despatch.
The final printed document are now ready for dispatch. We can arrange for the documents to be delivered in bulk or dispatched to multiple addresses across the globe.
We will also deliver a optimised PDF of the final report for online distribution.
With the project delivered we will review internally and ask you to review the work and the process and experience we went through. We strive to improve our service and value every cleint.
If you would like to discuss your annual report and accounts design,