Annual Report Cover Design

by | Nov 5, 2023 | Annual Report Design, Graphic Design, Latest News, Not-For-Profit, Print Design

The best of the last 10 years

Annual report cover design communicates your vision to stakeholders at a single glance.

Annual reports are more than a way of sharing your company’s activities and performance throughout the preceding year. They’re becoming a showpiece in their own right.

When it comes to distributing important information to shareholders and stakeholders, report design is the crucial element that commands attention. If the annual report design contains intriguing, unique content that inspires people to keep turning each page, people will be excited to share it, and your reach will likely be broader.

Whether your message is formal and corporate or playful with a storytelling focus, we’ll deliver an annual report cover design that celebrates your company or organisation’s latest successes.

Here are four key elements that our professional annual report designers consider when creating an eye-catching document:

1. Know your audience

Your annual report is a comprehensive marketing tool. It provides a platform to recognise achievements throughout the year and communicate with your stakeholders. As professional designers, our first consideration is your intended reader and we make design decisions accordingly.

Stakeholders can include: 

  • Customers
  • Shareholders
  • Employees
  • The Public

The design and structure of the annual report should mirror the personality and vision of your brand. One of the goals of an annual report is to make the best first impression, and more importantly, a lasting impression. A great report design will appeal to your reader, and capture their attention. We utilise visual resourcing, concept development, and choice of media to meet these objectives.

2. Visual Resourcing

Bringing together all the assets, imagery, and elements necessary for an annual report takes time, effort and a good design eye.

Do you have any standout photography or artwork from this year to draw upon for the report cover and the content pages?

We recommend keeping a record of business success stories throughout the year in a folder.

It could include:

  • photos, 
  • testimonials,
  • case studies, and 
  • positive events worth highlighting.

Another option is to organise professional photography at special events or key projects as they occur throughout the year. These become an excellent resource for an annual report as well as for other forms of communication such as on your website and social media.

Stock imagery should only be used when none of the above resources is available. They can be useful on occasion, particularly when worked in with a company’s brand styling.

Keep in mind: all forms of imagery must be high quality to earn their place on the cover of a report.

Annual report cover design photography

This is a great example of using professional photography in front cover design. We chose this beautiful image of a senior woman and her grandchild to capture the essence of what Southern Cross Care wanted to convey in its annual report.

3. Developing a Theme or Concept

Leading with a theme is arguably the best part of an annual report design. Keep it fresh for stakeholders and make it easy for them to distinguish this year’s report from previous years. A report design shouldn’t be ‘recycled’ and look the same as the last – each should tell its own story. Creating a theme helps facilitate this journey.

When conceptualising a theme, we can focus on exciting events or achievements from the year, highlighting new services unique to the year, or perhaps how the organisation responded to a crisis. We may also draw on the organisation’s values to develop a tagline for that particular year. These considerations all help to guide the decision.

As you will notice in these examples from our favourite report covers, we developed specific themes for each. This sets up the style and tone for how the rest of the report will flow, and what imagery is created to emphasise the theme.

Annual Report design by Melbourne graphic design studio Christie Davis Design.

Our client, Eastern Community Legal Centre, conceptualised the phrase ‘Postcode Justice’. We utilised this concept to highlight their service areas around Melbourne. Our cover design showed stakeholders which areas they support in a visually striking format.

4. Choose Your Media

Creatives can use a plethora of media within their annual report designs to engage the audience. From photography, illustrations, infographics, and typography to active links that connect a digital report to interactive videos or web pages. We help you select the best to build something unique, beautiful and on-brand.

Larger budgets may allow for the creation of interactive designs for featuring on your website. The benefit of this is it gives an organisation a strong advantage in engaging people online – by showcasing the key highlights from the annual report in a refreshing way. Speak to us about options that are available to suit your budget.

As graphic designers and specialists in annual report design, we can guide you in choosing best media for expressing the concept or theme.

We then carefully construct every page – from the cover, and the business report title page, to the shareholder’s letter and the balance sheet.


For us, the best part of annual report design is turning your company’s year of dedication and commitment into show-stopping, compelling publications that get noticed.


You have all worked hard – let our talented team of designers bring your results to life, through design.

Get in touch today to speak with us about your annual report cover design or publication requirements! We’d love to discuss your project.