General reports and annual reports are seen in businesses of all sizes as they are used to communicate important information. When is a good time to start putting some thoughtful design into these reports? In some cases, a business may need to share their report with external stakeholders...this is where your branding and visual communication should be utilised.
Information reports can be long and dry. This isn't to say they are not interesting, but how can one find pages of text and excel produced graphs a thrilling pick up, let alone finish or remember what they have read? By implementing some simple and smartly placed info graphics and images you will be able to transform your dry report into an interesting read. For example, punch out some graphs from illustrator or highlight categories with icons and oversized statistics, play with large headings and colourful quotations and above all always always always stick to the brand guidelines (if you don't have brand guidelines contact a graphic designer ASAP to put some together for you).
A well produced report can say a lot about your business. A document that is visually appealing can say, "look at me, I have my S#%* together and I know what I'm talking about AND I have the time and care to even make it look good...I'm a total tall poppy!" It's all about how you want your business to be perceived. Think about a lawyer or a real estate agent, never a hair out of place or a piece of lint on their jacket. From their appearance we perceive them to be successful and therefor trust their skills and knowledge.
If you're a small business wanting to grow then why wait to be a big boy to dress like one? there is no reason you can't look bigger than you are. By 'dressing up' your external reports you're telling the world you care about all aspects of your business, even the dry bits. Looking bigger than you are your business may be perceived by new leads as competitive and worth recognising.
As previously mentioned, reports are used to share important information. This information can be more easily and quickly digested with the help of info graphics and smartly placed elements.
Info graphics help to transform text heavy documents into a piece of visual communication. Info graphics help a reader to grasp a general concept of what a report is about and take note of key statistics or sections.
So remember, next time you're sending a document out to the big bad world of potential leads ask yourself these few questions, "is this easy enough to comprehend? Does this represent my company and branding? Do I look like one of the 'big boys'? does this look smart enough to attract more leads?
"Your business is your baby, look after it well and it will surely thrive".
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