The Idea Seed
ADD-vance are a Hertfordshire-based charity supporting people with, or affected by, ADHD and/or autism. They rely heavily on donations and grants, so need to bid for these pots of cash to ensure their great work can be available to the families that really need it.
We were approached by a trustee of the charity to help them with an annual report. A grant fund had provided feedback on an ADD-vance tender, stating the annual report wasn’t as well presented as others. With a professional and easy to understand set of accounts and impact statement, the charity hoped to be more successful when applying for funding. In stepped the BiaD team to deliver an annual report in a day!
Outputs from the day
Unlike previous BiaD sessions, there was only one item to finish by the end of the day, however, this didn’t mean it was an easy task! We didn’t want to waste too much time in the day actually writing content, so the ADD-vance team were tasked to prepare as much as they could before the day, so we could really focus on the document structure and presentation.
We started the day with an 8 page Word doc, a small selection of potential images and a very clear (but flexible) agenda for completing the various elements of the doc. The only branding we had was ‘Buddy’ – the ADD-vance mascot, so we took the colours from him and found an appropriate typeface.
By the end of the day, we had a completed 20 page, A4 landscape annual report – it was even printed out and sent as a PDF for final review by a larger audience. Here is a list of key features of the final document:
- A clear and usable layout for print and online reading: A4 landscape was chosen and designed NOT to be read as spreads to ensure legibility when read online/digitally.
- An ADD-vance brand: without any brand guidelines we created the document to look professional yet friendly, suiting the various requirements of different readers, yet supporting the existing ‘Buddy’ mascot.
- Inclusive typeface choices: we had a unique challenge in recognising how the typeforms may affect readability for some of our readers. As a result we had to choose letterforms that were more regular in appearance; swapping an ‘a’ with a terminal for one of a more regular shape. This also meant script typefaces were a no-go. A Google font called ‘Nunito’ was used for its various weights, compatibility with their planned new website, and zero cost!
- Portraying ADD-vance’s impacts in the year: A one page ‘infographic’ diagram was used to clearly display the impact features for the year, and more importantly, the outcomes of these features, i.e. the benefits. This element is often overlooked in many editorial infographics. This page can also be used as a standalone design element for the charity to use as a poster etc.
- Consistent quote and pullout styles throughout: Based on ‘Buddy’s balls’ (!) we were able to create a set of elements that can be easily lifted from the report for other uses.
- Clear accounting: Two pages were assigned to the charity accounts, one simple and one detailed, with links for the reader to follow if they want to know any more. These pages were future-proofed to enable next year’s accounts to be easily added.
Focus on clear wireframing
One of the most important elements of the day was a clear ‘wireframe’ of the document. A wireframe does not look at the aesthetic of the document, but is more concerned with the flow and placement of the information on the pages. Early in the day we used a good old pen and paper to scribble out what went where, and why. This was done with the whole team’s signoff, and soon impacted the flow of the original text given to us. It meant the whole team knew where their work was in relation to the other sections, and enabled us to really visualise the document before any computer designs were created.