The Best Online Annual Reports of 2017

Posted / 01 April, 2018

Author / The Enginess Team

2017 online annual report

Incorporating cutting-edge digital features into your online annual report has the potential to take a stodgy financial report to a whole new level. Here’s what we liked from 2017.

At Enginess, we love a good annual report. In fact, we’ve produced many of them.

Annual reports are a medium with the potential to beautifully marry business communication with simple, clear design. Incorporating cutting-edge digital features has the potential to take a stodgy financial report to a whole new level.

With that in mind, we have a tradition of showing off some of the best online annual reports.

Here’s what we liked from 2017.


L’Oreal

loreal 2017 online annual report

L’Oreal continues to wow with its 2017 annual report.

Opting for a clean, minimalist design and a digital report, it is absolutely on trend with the latest digital design aesthetic.

For a fashion consumer brand like L’Oreal, looking great sends a powerful message about the health of the company, as does being ahead of the design curve – particularly compared to other similarly-sized companies.

We particularly liked the use of typography and the combination of big bold headers with a light serif font for the subheads.

But it’s not just well presented. They also used a navigation assistant to deepen user engagement and make reading the report more of an immersive experience.

Once again, L’Oreal brings a serious level of finesse and sophistication to the annual report.


BMW

BMW 2017 online annual report

BMW’s 2017 annual report does what BMW does best: show really nice cars driving along nice, wet roads.

But beyond the imagery, there many things to like in this report.

First, BMW has done a fantastic job of telling its brand story and conveying through its product. For example, readers can explore the theme of teamwork through the story of the BMW i8 Roadster. Or look at what’s on the horizon with the electric Mini.

Second, the online annual report is packed with interactivity. There are many different ways to explore the report, from the car stories we mentioned, interviews, summaries, and of course the requisite financial and shareholder statements.

Finally, BMW makes excellent use of parallax scrolling and manages to make reading financial summaries actually fun.


Mozilla

Mozilla 2017 online annual report

L’Oreal and BMW are great, but there are many companies who don’t have the resources to create something incredibly interactive or hire a creative agency.

So we wanted to showcase a report that shines without the gimmicks.

Nonprofits usually release their reports a year late because of how they pay taxes, so the latest Mozilla report (called the State of Mozilla) is for 2016.

Regardless, the State of Mozilla is a superb example of what most companies should be able to produce with a little elbow grease and design direction.

Fast, simple, and clear, the State of Mozilla 2016 does everything it’s supposed to and nothing it doesn’t. Web designers have so many tools and tricks at their disposal it's easy to get carried away.

It’s nice to see someone keeping it clean.


General Electric

GE 2017 online annual report

For understated elegance, it’s hard to look past GE.

The report isn’t as exciting as BMWs or L’Oreals. But it’s just… sleek. It works for GE’s brand and is a nice demonstration that you don’t have to be trending to be on-point design-wise.

The report is simple enough, with a scrolling vertical nav that follows readers around so you know where you are and easy navigation and clear CTAs if you want a downloaded version.

But what’s great about the GE report is that it really makes you want to invest in the company.

One specific feature worth noting is the inclusion of relevant success stories from big-name clients. For an organization as big and diverse as GE, these are helpful to readers to give them a sense of what the company actually does.


AB InBev

ABInbev 2017 online annual report

AB InBev almost feels like a microsite more than a highly interactive report. That said, it’s still worth calling out for a few practical reasons.

AB InBev does a fantastic job of creating a report that’s easy to navigate. A problem we often see is “over-designing” reports, with every gimmick and animation packed in, and the practical purpose of conveying information falls to the wayside.

With AB InBev, it’s easy to quickly get your bearings and browse if you want, or go straight to the information you’re looking for.

One final thing worth noting about this report is how elegantly it pulls you along as you’re reading. Subtle animations guide you from section to section, keeping you engaged and interested in the report from start to finish.


Final thoughts

Creating your annual report doesn’t have to be a dreaded task.

Rather, it can be an opportunity for you to think about what kind of message you want to send about who your company is and trumpet your successes and your values.

Whether you opt for a groundbreaking digital annual report that’s totally interactive and immersive, or a simple page with the facts and figures, you can make it special with just the tiniest tweak of design.


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