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.

Post BiaD to-do list

Just a small selection of edits were required after the day following a thorough review of the content. We will also be providing print ready PDFs and elements of the design for other uses. There is a member of the ADD-vance team with design tools on their computer, so all working files are being handed over to enable ADD-vance to edit for future editions.

I am absolutely blown away by what you guys have done for ADD-vance in a single day, and cannot thank you enough for taking time out of your busy schedules to do this as part of your social commitments. If more people/ businesses were like you then the small charity world would surely be a stronger (and far better presented) place!

Chris Harrison, ADD-vance Trustee

Ideas for another day: Imagery to tell the ADHD and Autism story.

We learnt these two conditions are often hidden, with no visible physical signs to indicate the people who are affected by them. We came up with the idea of using imagery which by itself would look like a ‘traditional’ family scene, but using some clear and impactful copy to accompany the image we’d illustrate to the reader a hidden side to the image, e.g. image of a young person walking a dog, accompanying copy to state they are walking the dog as they’ve been suspended from school, with subtext stating what ADD-vance to in educating teachers the affects of ADHD and Autism. Finding the images was easy, but writing the text was the tricky bit so didn’t get done in our BiaD session – the idea would be good to follow up in the future though.

Lessons learned

No matter how much prep you can do before the day, you still need to be agile and flexible during a BiaD. When a team get together with a clear focus on what the outputs are for the day, innovative ideas pop up that can only happen in this sort of environment, so these need to be weaved into the final work.

The designers learnt a lot about the subject matter for this BiaD, and were proud to be designing a document that had real potential on securing funding for an excellent organisation, and impacting the lives of families across Hertfordshire.

To read more of the great work ADD-vance do in Hertfordshire, please take a look at their website.

It's down to your generosity that we can move forward and grow further, acquiring additional funding to provide even more for families in the future. Everyone who has seen the document, is in awe of what was achieved in one day!

Anne Ross, Founder and Director


Gurus on the day

  • Oliver Tomlinson (TDL-Creative): Facilitator
  • Craig Melvin (TDL-Creative): Document design
  • Chris Harrison (ADD-vance trustee): Financials and messaging
  • Pamela Reitemeier (ADD-vance): Copy editing and document draft
  • Catherine Ainsworth (ADD-vance): Brand synergy with new website
  • Carolyn Green (ADD-vance): Pullout statistics
  • Magda Witkowska (ADD-vance): Financials