When done well printed annual reports are as worthy as any design book of their place on the coffee table. Paper stock choices, clever printing, interesting folds and pull outs can all deliver a really absorbing tactile brand experience. However the pay off for this piece of beauty is often long lead times and sizeable budgets. This is where digital comes into its own. You can really bring a report alive on a screen; engaging the reader with clever animations in data visualisations, interactive tools, video and exciting imagery. Digital can also be a great investment for year on year use, updating a template with new content to refresh the look and feel without having to build a whole new system every time.
Online is also measurable, having the ability to track user numbers, behaviours and to understand where the most read content is could potentially help inform your wider company strategy. There is of course the other major benefit to digital of how shareable it is, broad reaching distribution for much less cost even helping boost your company SEO. Mailchimp’s report is a great example of this, great design attracting users from all industries generating massive amounts of traffic.
Tablet, phone or laptop. Whatever the device you can browse your annual report with your morning eggs if you so wish thanks to the wonderful web. Don’t forget the increasingly prevalent issue of the environmental impact. Even on the best recyclable paper the carbon footprint of a digital report can’t be beaten.