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Updating the Library

I’m doing more print work these days and realized that it was about time I updated my library of inspirational annual reports. Instead of wasting a few more trees, however, I thought I’d take a crack at hunting down some of the better ones in PDF.

I stumbled across the Report Gallery…a rather ugly but useful site that links to a plethora of companies’ online annual reports.

If anyone has any must-see annual report recommendations from the last year, feel free to share them!

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PUBLISHED ON Jan.28.2003 BY darrel
Armin’s comment is:

PRARS is a great resource to get printed annuals, don't worry about wasting trees Darrel, these are already printed, hence wasted.

This one I think has more links to online annuals.

I may sound trendy, but few Annuals are as inspiritaional as Cahan's Maxygen 2001 report. I can't find an image though. I would dare say it's best annual ever.

Anything by SamataMason is excellent too.

On Jan.28.2003 at 01:02 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Maxygen's AR

SamataMason's Norskecanada AR is quite nice.

On Jan.28.2003 at 01:26 PM
Brent’s comment is:

I know that I'll be exposing my ignorance, but where can I get paper copies of annual reports? Some of those things are great and they are agreat resource for design inspriation.


On Jan.28.2003 at 01:36 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>but where can I get paper copies of annual reports?

No ignorance, it's not that easy getting your hands on them reports. The first link I mentioned mails them to your house for free, and you can select as many as you want. They have most of the public companies' reports.

>Maxygen's AR

It's not that one. It's the one in earthy colors and really cool illustrations. I think it has some flowers on the cover.

On Jan.28.2003 at 01:59 PM
Jose Luis’s comment is:

>but where can I get paper copies of annual reports?

become a shareholder.

On Jan.28.2003 at 02:20 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Well, this one has flowers on it. Along with some funky furniture shots. But I think you are referring to the 2000 AR.

On Jan.28.2003 at 02:24 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>I think you are referring to the 2000 AR.

After it downloaded it said it was a bad file. Whatever.

Does anybody else miss the Mead Annual report show? it used to come to Chicago for a big paper show, but this year they cited "monetary difficulties" as the reason they were canceling the show. Too bad, it was the best annual report show.

On Jan.28.2003 at 03:25 PM
jon’s comment is:

The Mead show was pretty good. Here's what it says on their site:

Thank you for your interest in our show. Due to the recent merger of Mead and Westvaco, the legacy Mead Show has been suspended for this year. We are taking this time to evaluate all programs. If we may further assist you, please let us know.

On Jan.28.2003 at 04:11 PM
Armin’s comment is:

!q?what it says on their site:

What's their URL?

VSA has some pretty good annuals too. IBM being the most notable. And most copied of its typographic treatments.

On Jan.29.2003 at 08:36 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

What's with otherwise respectable design firms having totally unusable web sites? That VSA site is awful.

On Jan.29.2003 at 09:47 AM
Jon’s comment is:

Oops, sorry 'bout that. I can't ever remember the source code to embed a link, and I wasn't on my main computer where I have it... (can you say, "print designer"? )

Here it is.

On Jan.29.2003 at 09:50 AM
Armin’s comment is:

>That VSA site is awful.

I know, it is one of the worst designed web sites. And yes Darrel, this includes the visual design, usability and interface design ; )

It's been like that for ages. The first time I saw it, I just couldn't believe that was their site, I thought it was like a camping site, since it starts with "we are the counselors at camp I don't know what". Like, totally lame (please say with valley girl accent.)

On Jan.29.2003 at 10:31 AM
Michael S’s comment is:

When I first got interested in AR's, I would look to the design annuals and email the companies investor relations about getting their AR. However you need to mention which year they want incase it's a couple years old.

I also subscribe online to wsj.com which has a feature that allows you to order AR's online. You have the option of either a pdf or a hard copy. I took advantage of the opportunity to order every single report that they offered. A couple weeks later I had nine boxes that weighed over 6lbs at my door, mailed for free. Most were pretty bad, but there were a few gems. The service provided to the wsj is probably offered to other newspaper subscriptions, in Canada it's offered to the Globe and Mail. Here's the company url that provides the service http://www.wilink.com/

Examples, here's four that you probably haven't seen in any annuals. Their size ranges from a couple mb's to 5mb.





My all time favorite AR of all time is Whirlpool's 2000. The concept of how they are in consumers lives everyday is great and how they present it is genius. The printing and photographs of the products are amazing.


On Jan.29.2003 at 02:46 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Nice links, Michael. Thanks!

On Jan.29.2003 at 03:00 PM
Michael S’s comment is:

I've been looking at this one for a while, trying to decide how successful it is in the real world. The PDF doesn't do justice to the phenomenal printed piece. I had to do the loop test on the cover. I've never seen a spot red and brown put together to show a spectrum of colours.

With that said, I wonder how well it was received with the target audience when I look at their current website.

If you take the time to get a printed copy of this you'll learn a trick or two.


On Feb.28.2003 at 11:07 PM
Tan’s comment is:


this is a bit strange.

The virus (Brown Kevin & Snow Robert) kicked up this old thread -- and lo and behold, it's one of my old annual -- Ostex. So thanks for the props Michael.

Ostex was our dearest client -- the CEO is one of the most visionary client that I've ever had a chance to work with. The work is a reflection of a close relationship with a trusting client.

Alas, they were acquired last year by Inverness, a large women's healthcare pharmaceutical out of Boston. So no more Ostex, and no more annual. It's a project and client that I'll miss immensely.

On Nov.28.2003 at 01:44 PM