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by Roxanne Lee September. 17, 2010 2055 views

The past year in review including facts, figures, charts, graphs, tables and a feeling for what might be expected next year is what should be considered in the creative direction of an annual report.
-by Andy Attiliis

In addition, what's been done before must figure into the equation. For example, existing format recognition does not have to be abandoned for no good reason. Diversion from the established creative direction will devalue the client's investment in a message style the audience already knows. Because, readers won't connect with the unfamiliar approach as quickly as they did before. Instead, time and attention should be devoted to creating new key visuals that will best support the current year's circumstances within the existing style boundaries.
Only when a company is brand new, or makes a dramatic change in it's offering, does the total challenge of annual report creative direction need to be addressed. Now is the time to delve into all aspects of an entity in order to create a report that is truly representative of its distinctive personality. Friendly, forthcoming, exciting and understandable are some attributes a creative director will want to strive for.
Once the available information has been studied enough to decide on the right creative direction, the job becomes one of clearly presenting it to other members of the team. Then, keeping progress on course through to finished production will result in a communication that is true to the original intent. Done well, it will afford great promotional value in addition to dispensing the required financial data.
The annual report should be a virtual imperative to an investor, either actual or prospective.

It's a road map to how a CEO, for instance, communicates. If an investor doesn't comprehend what the boss is trying to tell the reader, perhaps those investment dollars are better spent elsewhere. I want a company to show investors such elements as the quality of management (their credentials for the position they hold), whether its management is composed strictly of members of the old-boys' club.
What happened last year and how management views results.

First and foremost, though, the company must be sufficiently savvy to demand the recipient become reader. If it fails at that basic test—getting you to open and read the book—you'd probably best go elsewhere.

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