Every business generates reports of some kind, be they HR reports, CSR documents or even an annual report. They often contain large amounts of important information that needs to be organised and displayed in the most effective and engaging way possible. Here at Three Sixty, it’s a challenge that we relish. Based on our experience, these are our top tips for perfecting your report design.
1. Clear purpose
Make sure that before you begin designing, you are clear on the purpose of the report and the intended audience. This gives you focus throughout the process and ensures that design decisions are made for the right reasons.
2. Logical arrangement of content
Arrange the content in a logical order so that it flows. Consider the pagination of the report so that there are no unnecessary blank pages.
3. Eye-catching front and back cover design
A well-designed and corresponding front and back cover encourages the reader to look inside the report. Put yourself in your readers' shoes; what kind of thing would they be attracted to reading?
4. Colour coded sections
Choosing different colours for each section, even if they are subtle, help to segment the report and make it easier and more appealing to read. However, leading onto our next point…
5. Explainable design choices
Make sure that you can explain every design choice, if you have used a particular colour because you like it, it's not an informed design decision. What would your readers want to see?
If your company has a font, or a specific typeface, make sure that you use it throughout the report. If nothing is specified, make sure that the typefaces used are clear, legible, readable and appropriate.
7. Use of a grid
Using a grid in your report makes the layout and copy look even and structured. Ideally the grid should be consistent throughout, but you can flex these rules where necessary.
8. Consistent header and footer
The same principle applies to your header and footer. Make it consistent throughout the report. When people read, consistent placement of key elements will allow them to know where certain information is without actively consuming it. If you keep moving recurring elements around it will jar with your reader.
9. Data, statistics and other information displayed in interesting and engaging ways
Reports are full of stats, data and information like this, so try to display it in creative ways. People are inherently visual, so think about using infographics, charts, colour and other tools to display data.
10. Use of high-resolution, high quality pictures
It is very important that any pictures you include in your report are both relevant and of a high quality. Pixelated images will make your report, and your company, look unprofessional.
11. Tone of voice
Your copy is important. The tone and pace of a body of text is dependent on how it is written. Consider your audience and, if necessary, consult a professional copywriter to ensure that you get the best copy possible.
With so many printing techniques available, you should also consider how you can use them effectively. Could a UV varnish improve your report? Would that piece of copy benefit from being embossed? What paper-stocks should you use? Should you use paper at all?
13. Data confidentiality
Most agencies are happy to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) to ensure peace of mind for both parties when dealing with data and information that has not yet been released to the public. Here at Origination we are more than happy to sign an NDA.
If you'd like to talk to us about an upcoming report for your business, simply get in touch using the details in the footer below.