Annual Report Printing: Design Tips for Your Year in Review
| Posted on 1/5/21

Annual Report Printing: Design Tips for Your Year in Review

For annual report printing, the layout determines one very important thing: whether someone’s actually going to read it or not. (And if they do read it, will they remember it?) The right design ensures your success stories shine and your statistics aren’t a slog. With binding, finishing and customizing options, Saddle Stitch Booklets turn annual reports into page-turning presentations.

Three annual report booklets in a tiered stack with designs in green, white and blue.
An annual report printed with a saddle stitch binding and a white cover with ombre artwork in red, orange and yellow.

An annual report booklet laying open to images of kids doing outdoor activities.

Growing Place Annual Report, Saddle Stitch Booklet: 100# Coated Matte White Cover with 80# Coated Matte White Text Interior and Flat Matte UV Coating on Cover, 8.5 x 11″

A Versatile Format

From public companies and small businesses to ESOPs, nonprofits and schools, organizations of all kinds rely on annual report printing to showcase the year’s achievements and partnerships. And with pages laid together and stapled through the fold line, saddle stitched books allow for a wide range of formatting possibilities to do just that.


For Pauline McPeake, executive director at Growing Place, booklet binding was crucial. “The format allows us to strategically use the centerfold to highlight our most noteworthy accomplishment for the year,” she said.

Charity Eldred’s online printing strategy took a process of elimination to find the just-right format for OPEN USA’s annual report. Collaborating with designer Ryan Baker, Eldred blended imagery with clean text and infographics that were “too large for a brochure, but too small for a perfect bound book. We liked saddle stitch for the ease of display.”


For Grace O’Hara, project manager at Seed Effect, along with design partners Missy Williams and Starla Koehler, the decision was obvious: “The binding makes it an ideal product to send to our supporters.”


Design Tips to Begin:

  • Include a Table of Contents for larger reports.
  • Begin with your mission statement and personal stories to immediately engage your audience; include letters and messages from key leaders, employees, volunteers, benefactors or beneficiaries.
  • Recognize corporate partners/sponsors in your annual report printing with their logos.
A nonprofit annual report booklet laying open to an image of three women sitting in a circle and company details.

Seed Effect Annual Report, Saddle Stitch Booklet

A saddle stitched annual report laying open to a map of Uganda and an image of a smiling woman holding a baby.

100# Uncoated Smooth White Cover with 70# Uncoated Smooth White Text Interior Pages, 11 x 8.5″

Custom Chronicles

No matter what annual report ideas you have, Smartpress’ online printing services offer customizing options that result in a professional booklet to present to donors, volunteers and shareholders.


From paper to size to orientation, this personalization made designing convenient for O’Hara. “The size is large enough to share stories of impact, both visually and through text, while also providing space to communicate our ministry’s vision in the years to come,” she said.

Whether your report has eight pages or 64, saddle stitch books can accommodate it all. (And why not use that ample space to tell the complete story of your entire year?) The right stock and weight creates the right feel, while coating ensures the right look.


Offered with either of the two UV coatings or the suede-like Soft Touch laminate, saddle stitch printing ensured a polished finish for McPeake: “The flat matte UV coating for our cover [gave] the report a glossier and more professional finish.”


Design Tips to Engage:

  • Along with annual numbers, incorporate infographics, colorful charts, graphs, illustrations or diagrams to clearly communicate progress and make complicated numbers easily understandable, digestible and interesting.
  • Showcase big, bright imagery of your company or nonprofit in action. Break up text with large imagery to captivate and engage readers or try spanning your image across pages for a truly unique effect.
An annual report booklet laying open to company stats and images of a house and its rooms.

Elijah Rising Annual Report, Saddle Stitch Booklet

A nonprofit annual report laying open to an image of a man holding a yellow booklet and a table on content.

100# Coated Matte Text Throughout, 11 x 8.5″

Advertising Achievements

When you think annual reports, you may not think marketing tool. But you should. David Gamboa, communications director at Elijah Rising, used his annual report booklet to promote, communicate and engage.


“We sent printed copies to donors and volunteers [and] printed extras and gave them out throughout the year,” Gamboa said. “We always bring a copy to meetings with potential donors and supporters. It helps them have a clearer picture of what we do and the results we see from our work.”

However you’re distributing them, Smartpress’ booklet printing options take care of it for you. For Direct Mail Saddle Stitch Booklets, add wafer seals so your pages stay together. Or order shrink wrapping so you have protected bundles on-hand for later events.


After all, it’s “not just about the organization’s metrics but what our supporters were able to accomplish throughout the year,” said Gamboa.


Design Tips to Personalize:

  • Incorporate quotes from employees, volunteers and clients throughout your report to add nuggets of personality and wisdom.
  • Introduce your leadership board with pictures, bios and fun facts.
  • Spotlight key individuals who have interesting stories about their involvement within your organization; Q&A interviews bring a personal touch to potentially dry subject material.
An annual report with a saddle stitch binding laying open to company stats.

Open USA Annual Report, Saddle Stitch Booklet

Annual report booklets laying open to statistics and images of employees and graphs.

80# Coated Matte White Cover with 100# Coated Matte White Text Interior Pages and Flat Matte UV Coating on Cover, 8 x 8″

Meaningful Recognition

As a premium online printer, Smartpress provides design options galore, but one thing that should remain constant in your annual report? Showing appreciation. And while digital communication can take less time, print makes the sentiment more impactful.


“Holding a physical copy shares the stories in a way that’s more concrete,” said O’Hara. “It helps show our supporters the impact they are making first-hand.”


For Eldred, “We wanted it available to put into the hands of people we’d been working with for a while. Something to say, ‘This is where your generous donations are going,’” she said. “It told the stories of the people we support and we wanted to present givers with something special to remind them of how they are a part of a bigger story.”

Annual reports, too, can serve as memory books or time capsules for the work your business or organization has done, the people you partnered with and the stories they provided.


“Our supporters really appreciate it when we hand them a copy,” Gamboa said. “It feels like a gift instead of an informational piece.”


Design Tips to End Brilliantly:

  • Highlight examples and images of specific initiatives, accomplishments, milestones or projects completed over the year.
  • End on a good note, with one final image that makes your annual report (and organization) memorable.


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