Recently we had an opportunity to design a cover for an annual report. In case you didn't know, annual reports gives a run down about the financial success (or failure) of an organization and other business information. Needless to say it's an important document. Using a new tagline, Ionis Pharmaceuticals wanted a new look for their 2020 report. We documented some of our design process.
Design Basics | Layout thumbnail sketches
The best ideas start with a sketch. Thumbnails are mini sketches that express initial layouts. It is a great way to get ideas on paper and see what composition & layouts look like before putting a lot of work into them. You can disregard ideas that do not work. This technique is great for prototyping. Some designers feel more comfortable using software like Adobe Fresco on the IPad but nothing beats the feel of ink on the texture of paper.
Software | Adobe In-Design
The King of Layout
This is the shop standard for us. Adobe In-Design provides us with the ability to design and prototype quickly. It combines assets from Adobe Photoshop & Adobe Illustrator in a way that allows for ultimate creativity. Adobe In-Design gives you ultimate control of typography. We breakdown software into image manipulation, primarily done in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustration for vector artwork and In-Design combines everything in a delicious recipe.
Assets | Gathering Resources
Copy, Logos, Typography, Photography
Where does it start, where do you start? The client should provide you assets and design specification details. The client should give you the text they want appeared on the cover, their logo and the size of the piece you are designing, in our instance it was letter size, 8.5" x 11". If they want specific photography the client will provide it as well. If they don't have a library, sourcing photography from an agency is extremely important. You need to have the rights to use the photo or illustration you want to use for the design. You can not pull images from Instagram or Google and use it. Resources we use are Shutterstock.com, Envato.com & GettyImages.com. These websites allow you to use the images with rights but there is a cost associated with it. You don't own the photos, it's almost renting them for a specific project.
Like photos, you need to have the rights to use fonts/ typefaces. We use Adobe Fonts, it gives you unlimited use and it integrates into The Adobe Creative Suite extremely well. Another resource we like are Google Fonts. You can source fonts in other ways but you have to be cautious when there are free fonts. They seem really cool and great but they may not work and may be trojan horses for viruses.
Now that you have all the moving pieces, it's time to design. Below is the design progress.
Round 1 | Initial design comps using the same design elements with different photography.
Design Round 1
This was our initial design concepts. Pioneering new markets makes you think of the future, the future of hope and care. The future of innovations and new medicines. The first design shows a patient with ALS, look up into the sky. The second photo shows a mother with her child. The third is a child exploring the unknown with wondrous curiosity. The feedback was they wanted to use more patients that use their medicines and more variations on design. Initially they wanted to keep the same design language they used in the prior year.
Round 2 | Design variations, using different elements and layouts.
Design Round 2
Based on the last feed back, we accessed their photo library and designed new concepts. The first design show movement adding a modern flow design element. Lighting up the photography, layout two breaks up the background with the foreground using the a strong branded color swatch. We use a modern background texture to encoke energy and the future. Concept three grounds us with a tender moment with a dad and his son playing in the waves. A pop of color is used to divide the family, separating them from the background and giving them more life. The final design is a family portrait with a hexagonal pattern showing technology connecting science and humanity.
Round 3 | These were the final 2 versions.
Design Round 3
We nailed it. With some of the adjustments to the typography and graphic elements. Below is their final choice.
The Final Design
Recap | Planning
Planning is key for any design process. Planning out your layouts, preparing your assets before you design will make the the process go more smoothly. Knowing where to source your design assets is extremely important. I have seen a designer go completely go through the design process, get the project approved but they didn't get the get the correct copyrights for the main photo they used resulting in delaying the process and requiring another approval cycle. There are definitely more steps involved in designing but this was a light overview of the process.
Our team specializes in design, mixing typography and photography. If you need help sourcing assets or need help with a project, drop us a line and we can collaborate or work on a project together.
San Diego, CA
Social Media Marketing