A Few of Our Favorite Online Annual Reports

Creative web designers continue to push annual reports further into the 21st century. We’ve curated a number of online reports that exemplify the latest and greatest trends.

Explore emerging design trends and shining examples below.

Responsive Design

The modern reader is increasingly mobile—consuming digital content on smartphones and tablets, as well as desktop computers. Cutting-edge online annual reports account for this with responsive design: web layouts that intelligently adjust to screens of any size.

These examples from Ustream and Calgary Stampede execute this with long, tablet-optimized pages and simple-yet-bold designs. With creatively executed elements that activate as you scroll past them, these online annual reports take you on a journey that’s stunning on a tablet or desktop.

Ustream »

Calgary Stampede »

Engaging Video

Whether it’s a craving for instant gratification or an attraction to enticing eye-candy, videos can capture our attention in a way that words can’t. While an online annual report is still about written facts, figures, and goals, videos can often speak just as loudly as text.

These examples from Thomson Reuters and ProSiebenSat.1 Media artfully integrate background videos to enliven the user experience, without allowing them to steal the show. AkzoNobel uses videos as content (rather than background ambiance) with visually engaging interfaces that allow you to easily select clips on different topics. Whether adding ambiance or placing them front and center, these online annual reports showcase the power of video.

Thomson Reuters »

ProSiebenSat.1 Media »

AkzoNobel »

Intuitive Navigation

An annual report can be a lot to absorb—it’s easy to overwhelm would-be readers with an onslaught of information. Online annual reports offer a unique opportunity to make your info easy to absorb.

This example from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) summarizes its most salient points and invites users to click through and drill down for more details. Users can get a sense of the entire scope at a glance, picking and choosing to read more about whatever appeals to them most. There they’ll find more engaging information, from brightly colored graphs to a video message from the CEO.

Royal Bank of Canada »

Beautiful Layouts

A gorgeous design can amplify your message and engross investors. Just as no one wants to stare at a harsh, poorly formatted document for too long, readers will linger longer and dive deeper into an invitingly presented online annual report.

Consider Mubadala’s captivating report, with background videos, bold designs, sleek layouts, and bright accent colors that seem to pop off the neutral background. REN’s online report features a lovely, hip, and warm design elements paired with a truly innovative navigation interface. GE takes a more minimalist approach, with a refreshingly clean and uncluttered design.

Interestingly, American reports—which are only summaries, rather than full annual reports—seem to go with designs that are more conservative, though no less attractive. Their global counterparts, on the hand, showcase layouts that are bolder and more dynamic. Explore all these examples and more to see our favorite eye-catching designs.

Mubadala »

REN »

Capstone Infrastructure »

Telefonica »

Kion Group »

GE » Verizon »

Home Depot »

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta »

Sustainability Reporting

Online annual reports are a chance to show your company’s mission and values—and how your actions reflect those beliefs. As sustainable practices and corporate responsibility become areas of greater focus, businesses are incorporating sustainability reports into their online annual reports.

Fully integrated reporting that combines financial and sustainability information is common in Europe, but still rare in the U.S. The German company BASF boasts a truly integrated report, complete with GRI and Global Compact Indices. Daimler, also from German, opted to create a separate online sustainability report.

Hormel Foods (the company behind Spam) is in an industry where sustainability is increasingly important; it created an online corporate responsibility report that provides insights in an engaging, infographic-esque design. BASF and Daimler provide more in-depth details and a clean, precise layout.

BASF »

Hormel Foods »

Daimler »

Clear Timelines

Online reports tell a company’s story over the course of a year. When calling out milestones and important events, an easy-to-navigate timeline can make all the difference.

While many companies creatively play on horizontal timelines (see Calgary Stampede and GE examples above), Swiss company Geberit takes a different approach. Using a calendar format and a sleek, simple design, Geberit walks you through its year highlight by highlight.

Geberit »

Lively Playfulness

As the Internet evolves, it’s getting warmer, fuzzier, and friendlier. Companies have started to embrace a certain sense of playfulness—even when discussing a topic that traditionally produces little merriment: their own corporate histories.

While Vimeo’s honeycomb-style timeline isn’t strictly an online annual report, it does exemplify how a playful web design can humanize a company.

Vimeo »

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