Scottish Annual Report Prize 2002
Pure Design winning Annual Report for Glenmorangie.As in years gone by the fiercely contested Annual Report Prize, now in its fourth year, was judged by two design teams from leading consultancies in the North of England along with two Scottish financial experts, who were asked to look at the reports from the opposite end of the spectrum to the designers. This ensured that each annual report was considered from both a design and practicality perspective.
Last year the overall winner of the Scottish Annual Report Prize was Graphic Partners, with its Scottish Ambulance Service annual report coming top in seven out of the nine categories.
Could this success be repeated once again? Could Graphic Partners scoop the top prize yet again?
Our judges were asked to look at the 34 reports entered this year and grade them out of 10 in several different criteria, these were graphic design, use of paper stock, use of illustration, standard of page layout, clarity of text and their overall impression of the report.
The judges this year included Peter Craigie, financial director of The Dunfermline Building Society, Jack McLaren, a partner in the accountancy firm Baker Tilly, the design team of Simon Farrell, Alan Herron and Pete Richardson of The Chase, the design consultancy based in Manchester, and Peter Donohoe and David Wood of Iris Design, which this year designed the annual report for the Department of Culture Media and Sport.
Overall, the marks given to the reports were of a high standard, with praise lavished on both public and private sector reports. However, it is interesting to note that the designers amongst the judges were much harsher on the design aspects of the reports than their financial counterparts. Another outcome which illustrates just how subjective a review such as this can be is that in one particular category The Chase awarded a score of 1 out of ten, while Iris awarded a score of ten out of ten.
The judges were also asked what they thought was the most important aspect of a well-designed annual report.
The Chase believed that the most practical thing a report should do is to “provide important information in an interesting, appropriate and engaging way”. Iris maintained that the most important feature should be that it has an “innovative design whilst clearly communicating the key information and message”.
The Dunfermline Building Society’s Peter Craigie said, “The most important aspects are: to try to establish what the company is trying to achieve, usually from the Mission Statement; transparency and ease of use, to be able to find the key facts and disclosures as well as easily discern the company’s major performance indicators.” Jack McLaren put it rather simply – an annual report should “invite you to read it”.
Another aspect on which our judges were quizzed was the future of annual reports. With CD ROMS and the internet being so accessible, would this have a negative effect on the printed annual report?
From the financial field the response was relatively muted, with Jack McLaren commenting: “There will need to be a more operational emphasis on it. In the future I think that an annual report will have to contain a financial summary, with full financial information given.”
The Dunfermline’s Peter Craigie suggests that: “The move will be towards a website entry rather than a CD-ROM, on the basis of greater accessibility, both to shareholders at home and to finance professionals. It is likely that shareholders or stakeholders will be given choice as to how they want to receive the accounts in the future, provided that companies can fulfil their legal obligations in doing so.”
The designers at Iris Design agreed, saying, “Many reports are available online and I’m sure more companies will follow. It makes sense to publish the reports in alternative formats.”
But The Chase was keen to point out how important having a hard copy of an annual report actually is – “Most reports are available over the web. However, nothing replaces the hard copy, especially for the old timers.”
This year’s overall winner of the Scottish Annual Report Prize is Pure Design with its Glenmorangie Annual Report, with praise being overwhelmingly lavished on it from all of our judges and only one other report, LloydsTSB Scotland by Graphic Partners, being able to match in any criteria.
The overall finalists table also saw Graphic Partners taking second and third place for its work with the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and Lloyds TSB.
Again an impressive outing from the Edinburgh consultancy and perhaps a shot in the arm which proves even without the design team responsible for the Scottish Ambulance Service they are still at the top of their game when it comes to annual reports.
Nevis came in a very close fourth, with joint fifth place going to navyblue and Pure Design yet again.
In joint seventh were the Design Corporation with its West of Scotland Water report and Third Eye Design with its report for Prospect Community Housing.
Pure Design, which came out streets ahead in the final table, won this category by half a point.
The Glenmorangie Annual Report stands head and shoulders above the rest of the field. Our judges, for a number of reasons, complimented the whisky manufacturer’s report with comments by The Chase including: “confident indents, interesting type and a brave mix of size”.
The report was seen to be both innovative and contemporary and it had moved on from previous years. However, there was a slight criticism levelled at Pure by design consultancy The Chase when reviewing the Housing Ombudsman of Scotland Report. (Readers should be aware that none of the judges were told who had designed each report.)
The Chase singled out this report for criticism saying that it was “too similar to Glenmorangie and it doesn’t seem appropriate for a housing association. The design of the report therefore seems lazy as they’ve simply applied the Glenmorangie treatment and copied it. It is clearly the same design agency and therefore it is very lazy.”
Despite this criticism, the Housing Association Annual Report managed to come in joint third place, losing out to Nevis and its Strakan report which took second place.
Also in joint third was Graphic Partners’ Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce annual report alongside Lloyds TSB by Graphic Partners.
Robert Wiseman Dairies by Tayburn Corporate and West of Scotland Water, designed by Design Corporation, ending up in joint fifth position.
Best Use of Paper
Again the Glenmorangie report managed to romp home in first place with the use of a high quality uncoated stock sitting alongside a good quality coated paper. It also incorporated translucent stock and a small metallic addition to the ring binding also caught the judges eyes as something that made the report stand out.
Navy Blue came in second place with its Glanbia report, with Jack McLaren stating that it had “quite a refreshing approach”.
Peter Craigie commented on the report, saying, “The financial highlights were well presented, while specific mission statements are bold. The financial statements are clear and easily read.” Iris simply said of the report that it was both “pure and clear”.
Yet again, the Housing Association’s Annual Report was ranked in third position along Strakan’s report designed by Nevis.
Graphic Partners’ Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, navyblue’s Miller Group and Pure Design’s PPL Therapeutics all came in joint fourth position.
It is now getting quite difficult to find a new way to introduce the winner of the category as yet again Pure Design tops the Illustration table with its Glenmorangie Annual Report.
In second place this time was the Lloyds TSB Report, created by Graphic Partners. Vying for third place were Nevis with its Strakan Annual Report, Third Eye Design with its Prospect Community Housing report, Pure for Clydeport and Graphic Partners with its Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce report.
The judges found that the Housing Association Ombudsman for Scotland Report was the overwhelming winner in the public sector vote, with only Jack McLaren of Baker Tilly not voting in this category, finding that there was “not a wide enough choice to have a favourite” and, whilst The Chase had been rather critical on the report, they still voted it the clear winner in this category.
Yet again, the winner in this category was the Glenmorangie Report with Graphic Partners just missing out and slipping into second spot with its LloydsTSB Scotland report.
Graphic Partners also took third place in this category with its Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce report, which finished way ahead of the pack fighting over fourth place.
Six consultancies finished in joint fourth place in this category with Teviot and Design Corporation making it into the top five for their respective CIS and West of Scotland Water reports.
Clarity of Text
Finally, someone managed to catch up with Pure Design and Glenmorangie. Graphic Partners’ LloydsTSB Scotland shares this category with Pure’s Glenmorangie, both getting an average score of 8.75.
The Lloyds TSB Report was commended by the team at Iris Design, who said that it was “well executed”, while The Dunfermline’s Peter Craigie remarked: “Because the accounts have been separated from the review document, it is a much easier read from a financial perspective – something one might expect from a bank.”
Graphic Partners also managed to take third place with its Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce report which was narrowly ahead of three consultancies fighting its out for fourth spot, which were navyblue for Miller Group, Third Eye Design for Prospect Community Housing and, yes you guessed it, Pure Design with the Housing Association Ombudsman for Scotland.
The design teams reviewing the reports were asked if there were any rules that must be abided by when designing an annual report?
The Chase believed that there was only one – “It must be legible”. They went on to say that the things to avoid when designing a report include – “using clichÃ©s, the word ‘vision’ and lower bridges.” So, designers, be aware.
Now, believe it or not, the overall winner of this was ... wait for it ... you’ve guessed it – Glenmorangie.
Whilst it comes as no surprise that Pure Design was ranked in first place in all categories bar one, the second and third place went to Graphic Partners – for its work on the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and Lloyds TSB respectively.
navyblue managed to chart a respectable fourth place overall with its Miller Group annual report, with Nevis coming in fifth with its Strakan report.