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Print & Digital Annual Reports: The Best of Both Worlds

by | Jul 29, 2016

By Nicolette Cornelius, Orange Element

During report season, our clients often ask us whether they should go with a printed annual report or consider an interactive online version. Our answer: choose to do both. We’re seeing many organizations combine the tradition and beauty of experiencing ink on paper with an online counterpart that can offer additional new dimensions.

Custom-made online reports (we like to call them microsite reports) are becoming increasingly in-demand, and for great reasons. For starters, a web-based report gives organizations the ability to more quickly reach and impact larger targeted groups while saving money on shipping and time. Plus, with the capability of being updated, an online version can have longer shelf life that your audience will share, reference and revisit.

Another substantial factor separating an online report from the printed variety is the ability to incorporate interactive elements such as audio, video, and animated info graphics. Integrating these elements within your report can allow a reader to experience company vision and impact with dynamic results. Animating financial data and statistics can add a new level of graphic interest to what might otherwise just be numbers on paper. These elements provide a level of interactivity that audiences have come to expect.

There is also the added benefit of more quickly tracking a digital report’s reach and readership. Understanding how content is being experienced and which pages have the most traffic, etc., can add value when preparing new marketing efforts or even content for your next report.

But let’s not forget the tradition found in the printed report. As we continue to go digital, we are seeing a resurgence of interest amongst our client’s customers who still want to enjoy a tactile, personal experience. A beautifully written and masterfully designed report provides weight and importance that can solidify a company mission. Spending quality time turning each page, one-by-one, to experience ink, paper, design and story, can leave a recipient wanting to learn more.

Choosing to combine both printed and digital will give more traditional investors and donors the personal experience while showing a larger audience that your organization is committed to innovation through an interactive online report. So when it’s time to consider printing your report or going online, we suggest you choose the benefits of both.

Nicolette Cornelius, associate design director at Orange Element, a Capitol Communicator sponsor, spends her days providing design thinking to solve complex problems and present creative ideas to her clients.

About the Author

Capitol Communicator is a unique online and offline resource for Mid-Atlantic advertising, marketing, public relations, digital and media communications professionals. The e-magazine, e-newsletters and events bring together communications professionals, fostering community and providing important information; news; trends; education; and opportunities for networking, career enhancement, business exchange and showcasing great work. Visit www.capitolcommunicator.com to learn more.


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