Spotted: Visual trends in reporting

Published April 5, 2023, 11:31 a.m. by David Linder

With the new EU directive CSRD, demands on sustainability reporting are rising. Not only that, expectations on the design of the reports will also increase year after year. In this blog, David Linder, creative director at Spoon, has spotted trends to be on the lookout for when it comes to creating different types of reports.
"We’re currently noticing things like tactility, guidance and documentary content to be driving forces in report design"
David Linder, Creative director, Spoon

David Linder has been designing a wide variety of reports for over ten years, from sustainability reports to annual reports. And while demand for reports is rising – partly as a result of the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive – expectations on appealing designs are also increasing.

– We’re currently noticing things like tactility, guidance and documentary content to be driving forces in report design, says David Linder.

Here, he sums upp trends that he has spotted when it comes to different types of reporting, hopefully serving as inspiration on how to improve sometimes dull reports.

Four trends in corporate reporting


Tactility is sticking around

The sustainability reports that are currently on for me and my colleagues desks are all going to be printed. Even other kinds of reports are being printed. It’s quite demanding reading an entire report in the PDF format, so perhaps print is making a comeback? The report itself, as a format, is a highly appreciated giveaway – regardless of whether the target group consists of owners, clients or coworkers. We’re all still highly susceptible to physical objects, that tactile experience.


“Design suit” still important

Expectations on the presentation are growing. Gone are the days when you could simply fill up space with text and duty bound images. The design needs to be more elaborated with a strong sense of form, call it a ‘design suit’ consisting of details and elements that are able to create a helpful, guiding design. This makes the content much more interesting. Examples of details and elements are fact boxes, entries in the text, pull quotes, image captions, and vignettes. UX is equally important when it comes to analogue communication.


Human evidence brings it to life

Storytelling happens through people. Images of human beings make a mark on sustainability reports – it brings flesh and blood to the company. One thing I’m noticing is that storytelling itself is widening, gravitating towards documentary content and that companies are more than willing to depict their business year through images. As a result of this, demand increases when it comes to planning and ongoing content production for reports.

Infographics - a recurring favorite!

Another important element of the sustainability report, and other types of reports, is the simplification possibilities available through infographics, to be able to present in other ways than just via text. This is particularly well suited for the abstract, like strategies and delivery supply chains.

David Linder, Creative Director, Spoon

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