Spring is finally in the air, and you know what that means? Right, it’s time for you and your team to sit down and produce your annual report for the fiscal year. But maybe you don’t know where to start in terms of organizing things and pulling everything together. What do you do?
Relax. We’re here to help by offering a few steps that will send you on your way to producing your latest annual report. If you’re wondering how to get organized on your annual report design, follow these next steps and you’ll produce worthwhile content and a great design.
1. Have a Meeting With Your Designer
When it comes to organizing your annual report design project, it’s crucial that you have a talk with your designer, even if you don’t have any content ready. Talk to them either on a conference call or face-to-face about your vision and expectations for the report. You should be prepared to talk about these four things:
- The theme of your report. If you don’t have any ideas, you can be open to suggestions.
- The style you want to see. Give examples to your designer.
- How to follow the Brand Standards Manual. Let your designer know if they can be flexible or not in following the manual. If you don’t have a manual, again give your designer some examples of collateral that they should follow.
- How content heavy the report will be. If you’re looking for a highly visual report, be sure to communicate what you need from your designer.
2. Plan a Schedule for Your Report
To keep your project running smoothly, make sure that you have a plan ready and outline a schedule for your annual report design. First, identify project milestones, such as when you’d like to start your report and when it needs to be delivered to the Board of Directors. Then, outline the key dates and tasks needed to reach those milestones, such as when final content will be ready or when a draft will be prepared. Make sure your schedule is flexible enough to incorporate any delays that might happen along the way.
If you do experience delays, make sure you revise your schedule and talk to your designer about the delay. Keeping the lines of communication open will help you move through your annual report design according to plan.
3. Write Your Report
Now it’s time to start producing content. Follow these five steps when you’re coming up with a draft:
- Take everything you did during the past 12 months, and define three to five major accomplishments.
- Talk to your supporters. Have a list of people ready who can speak about your accomplishments. Interview them and create personal stories that will be used for testimonial pull quotes throughout the report and personal stories that you can use in the report.
- Include your financial statements. Even if the full picture is going online instead of in your report, be sure to include pie charts and text explaining in plain English how you got funding or revenue and how you spent it.
- Compile a list of your executive staff and Board of Directors. You can also include a list of financial supporters if you’re a non-profit.
- Take everything from steps 1 to 4 and pull it together.
4. Finalize Copy for the Designer
Once your report is approved by your team, you need to finalize things for your designer. Follow the following 1:2 ratio: for every page of copy you have, you’ll need two pages in your final report to cover it. This will give your designer some room to maneuver when playing around with the layout.
Before giving final content to your designer, however, make sure that everything has been spell-checked, and reviewed and approved internally. If it hasn’t, make sure your designer is aware of this. Again, keep the lines of communication open. Still, it is always best that you give your designer the absolute final copy to work with.
Maybe you need a graphic designer for your annual report design. If so, don’t worry and reach out to Cyan Solutions. We have a team of senior graphic designers who can weave magic out of your annual report text. If that’s what you need, be sure to give us a call or drop us an e-mail. We’re here to help.