Today’s annual reports have evolved into more engaging and visually-appealing forms of media (here’s looking at you, Girls Who Code team!). However, business reporting remains boring and flat in many industries.
Whether you’re about to share your annual sustainability report to a team of 9 or present it to 90 team members around the world in your embedded finance organization, this annual report design inspiration guide will help you make sense of what makes a good annual report.
Guide to annual report design: Ideas, templates, and best practices
Keep reading to:
- Find annual report examples from actual companies
- Learn how to make annual reports that clients will love to read, review, and share
- Watch a step-by-step video tutorial on annual report design from one of our designers
- Discover how you can effortlessly create visually stunning annual reports with a professional look through customizable annual report templates
What is an annual report?
An annual report is a corporate document distributed to company shareholders showcasing the organization’s financial state for the past year.
A typical annual report has the following components:
- Visuals and an accompanying story of the company for the past year
- Information about the company’s financial standing and operations
- Forecast of the following year
In a nutshell, an annual report gives an overview of what your business has been up to for the last 12 months.
When planning for your annual report, think of the following audience groups:
- Primary audience: Existing shareholders, stakeholders, potential investors, employees
- Secondary audience: Suppliers, businesses, and organizations in the same industry or space
Annual report templates you can edit and print
The concept behind annual report creation is simple — you share metrics and tell the story of your business or company’s operations for the past year.
But let’s be honest: most of us don’t read those traditional annual reports filled with MWOT (also known as a massive wall of text) and overwhelming data.
It’s either you don’t have the time or the cognitive load to process endless bits of information. Or maybe both.
The good news is you can visualize your annual reports!
We may be biased, but Piktochart is a business visual storytelling tool with some professional-looking, editable annual report design templates that you can edit and print. No need to make your report from scratch!
Bonus benefit: you can download templates as a PDF in Piktochart, which is often the preferred format for annual reports.
Create a free account so you can follow along for little inspiration as we feature the best annual report design templates below.
1. Modern annual report template
Want a more modern look to your annual report design?
This modern annual report template with simple design is the perfect choice. It has 8 pages filled with graphs, layouts, and typography that are easy on the eyes.
2. Creative annual report template
If you’re looking for a template with unique annual report design, this creative annual report template is filled with bright colors and bold geometric shapes to help you stand out from other reports in your industry.
The great thing about this template is you can customize it to your brand colors with just one click with Piktochart.
Not only that, with Piktochart PRO, you can use build a custom color kit for your account based on your brand guidelines.
3. HR annual report template
A good HR annual report highlights essential recruitment metrics like cost per hire, turnover rate, time to fill, and recruiting conversion rate.
Use this black and red annual report template to share your HR data and turn your metrics into actionable tactics for the following year.
Not a fan of black and red? You can change this template’s colors and fonts quickly using Piktochart.
4. Business annual report template
Here’s what a business annual report layout typically looks like:
- Words from our CEO
- List of Directors
- Business Objectives and Overview of the Company
- Vision and Mission
- Products and Services
- Global Review
- Annual Statistics
These sections, alongside pre-designed data widgets and icons, are built right in this blue and white business report template.
5. Corporate annual report template
This 10-page corporate annual report template is a cross between the modern and geometric templates we shared earlier. With this template, you can stay professional while looking more modern and hip at the same time!
6. Annual review template
Design an annual report that you and your team will be proud of with this annual review infographic template of white, blue, and green colors.
This template comes with a world map, slick-looking graphs, and a visually striking page dedicated to corporate social responsibility.
7. Short annual report template
If you prefer short annual reports, this is the right template for you! This 5-page annual report template will help you share information more succinctly. This template is also ideal for organizations who want to cut to the chase and present the most critical details of their report.
8. One-page annual report template
Are one-page annual reports a thing? It sure is with this one-page annual report template.
The great thing about this template is it does well on the data visualization side with the customizable charts and graphs.
Bonus annual report infographic template
Here’s another one-page annual report template (it’s actually an infographic!) that you can use for end-of-year reviews and reports.
9. Marketing annual report template
Impress your shareholders and the rest of the team with this black, yellow, and white marketing annual report template.
This template is also versatile because you can also use it for monthly reports. All you need to do is edit the colors, change up the fonts, and you’re ready for a new, great-looking marketing report!
10. Team progress annual report template
Share your team member’s progress in this performance annual report template highlighting the progress of your team members — from roadblocks to team goal progress.
Annual report design best practices with examples
Now that you have a vast collection of templates to choose from, your next step is to improve your annual report design skills.
Celebrate your company’s success and learn from your organization’s failures with the following annual report design best practices and examples:
1. Go all-out on your cover design to pique your audience’s interest.
Think of your cover page as your headline. Your annual report’s cover should capture the attention of your audience and give them a glimpse of what to expect if they read your annual report.
Mailchimp’s interactive 2020 annual report is a good example.
While you don’t have to make your report interactive as well, what makes this annual report cover stand out are the wonderful illustrations, cute characters, and its catchy title, “Against All Odds”. It entices you to check out the rest of the report.
2. Use visuals to help your audience learn and retain information in your annual report.
If you’ve ever had to read and go through lengthy annual reports, you know it can be challenging to retain information. A well-thought-out annual report should use visuals to help your audience understand complex data. Take a look at a section of Netflix’ 2018 annual report below as an example.
With 65 percent of the world population as visual learners, help your audience understand your report better through photos, icons, diagrams, charts, and infographics.
Piktochart allows you to easily import your data for your charts and graphs in your annual report.
3. Integrate branding into your annual report.
Your annual report is a huge marketing opportunity to showcase your company’s brand identity and connect with your audience.
When created strategically, an annual report can even help boost your internal marketing efforts.
For this reason, it makes sense to incorporate your company logo, colors, typography, and tone of voice into your annual report. For example, your yearly report doesn’t have to sound boring. Borrowing from Verizon, take a look at a section of their Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) for 2020 – it is informative yet also entertaining to read!
For more annual report design inspiration and tips, watch our webinar recording of How To Visualize A Perfect Annual Report for the End of the Year Reporting below.
By the end of the video tutorial, you’ll discover:
- The essential ingredients of a well-thought-out, effective annual report
- Actionable steps to help your audience understand and retain information better
- A walkthrough of how to edit and customize Piktochart’s annual report templates
Create annual reports that people will read (and rave!) about
You know it’s a good, effective annual report if you read it from cover to cover and you got a good grasp of what you just read. You might even rave about it and share it with colleagues and business partners!
Annual report creation doesn’t have to involve complicated software that you have to download nor expensive graphic designer fees. Templates are not only time-savers, but they also encourage creativity because of constraints.
Create your free Piktochart account and get your creative mojo back with annual report templates.