Report design jury 2017

Jonas Voegeli, Jirí Chmelik
Jonas Voegeli, president ­design jury
Jirí Chmelik,
co-president design jury

The communication phenomena of our age are reflected in the medium of the annual report. A few years ago, the jury made a separate assessment of print and online reports. In the first phase, a decision seemingly had to be taken on one particular channel “Are you still printing”? Today, on the other hand, the specific qualities of the two complementary media are becoming clear.

Paper: prestige and a working tool

The new media and their dissemination are influencing the perception of printed paper. Printed matter is becoming rarer, more important and more personal. In corporate communication the print artefact becomes in part an inter-human message. A gift. Business reporting is suitable as an occasion for the production of an edition of printed matter, whose presentation is designed carefully to suit particular interest groups and audiences.

The full edition of the annual report in PDF or printed format continues to serve as a working tool. People mark up and comment the text, paper permits interaction. The report becomes a personal object.

New media: database and show time

Good and clear navigation enables the reader to browse through pleasingly prepared contents. The user finds his way around quickly and searches for information. Reading on the screen has become standard practice. The reduced contents are supplemented by the PDF download and the database.

The medium provides an opportunity for a multimedia show. The report is enriched by entertaining, emotional show times. Numerical facts are prepared for the public in interactive tools.

Reports, whose conception overrides the media, and which make use of the particular strengths of the print and online channels carry conviction.

Overall impression; communicative performance across all channels

The Design Jury has decided to adapt the assessment structure. The print and online channels continue to be judged for their specific qualities. The “overall” impression criterion now plays a prominent role for both channels. The keywords for the assessment criterion are: media convergence, complementarity, appropriate content, independence and care. Here, we assess how the company develops its story in the interplay between the channels and how the communicative momentum of annual reporting is exploited.

The successful outcome of the design process radiates ambitious energy. Here, communication is not confined to conveying information. On the contrary, good reporting is like a performance with intertwined lines of action and tensions. A range of communication impulses form a coherent whole which manages to attract and enthuse the viewer. Work on clarity, structure and emphasis is an action of entrepreneurial self-reflection and provides the guidance needed for the business to develop.

Straightforward and modular

Perception is based on gathering impressions. Thoughts are superimposed on impressions and densified into a mental image. Impressions are gained from image, text, numbers and infographics. The viewer is open and inquisitive and finds his way quickly and by leaps and bounds through the contents that are presented. He is willing to follow an informative line of thought and read the specific content. The resources demanded of the observer are time and attention.

The content is presented in a way that is agreeable to the viewer. Straightforward clarity of the means of communication is of the essence. Clarity applies here not just to the content; the intention of the message is also clear through its form. “Form follows function” becomes transparent and hence an open play between the sender and the receiver. The viewer is supported in his choice of the depth of information and intensity of time.

The communication media function in a modular form and can be reproduced in channels in a variety of combinations.

The business reporting of the HIAG company deals with this area in a fascinating way and so wins the Design rating.

Experience and emotion

A trend towards editorial formats can be observed in corporate communication. For instance, the interview has been a popular format in business reporting for many years. Editorial design calls for a broad range of styling instruments; this turns the flow of reading into a richly varied and enjoyable experience.

Emotion is not directly triggered through communication. The emotional response is generated by the viewer himself. Emotions are aroused. Emotions heighten attention and generate keen interest. The viewer is willing to linger and latch on to the excitement and enthusiasm. This communication message has a lasting impact and the observer is suitably impressed.

The Zur Rose Group makes an impressive start here and hoists its first annual report as a listed company up to 2nd place (for the “Design Print” and “Design Online”) categories.

Guidance for the reader and diversity

The observer wants to beguided. Reporting must open up of its own accord to the reader. Navigation and orientation convey certainty. But guidance through the content goes further in terms of presentation. Typographic resources can be used to incorporate a commentary level into the reporting. As though led by a voice off in a documentary film the reader is guided through the text.

The opportunities to shape types of content reside in the diversity of graphic expression. Here, the design credo can be reversed: “Function follows form”. Content is investigated for its formal qualities. Which forms of content can be presented in which function? How is a meaningful diversity of expression achieved? How can authenticity be captured?

The annual report by Implenia has played the whole gamut for many years and achieved 3rd place in the Design Rating.

“Design excellence” and successful newcomers

The Design Jury pays tribute to the 30 top ranking companies with its “Design Excellence” award. Of the 234 annual reports, the companies which figure among the top 30 in the consolidated “Design Print/Online” category have all found convincing solutions.

Successful newcomers apart from the Zur Rose Group include the report by the vat enterprise with its excellent ranking (category “Design Print”: number 8; category “Design online”: number 11).

For the jury,
Jirí Chmelik
Co-Präsident Design-Jury