Report Printing Guide To Formats and Finishes

This report design guide is for clients by expert annual report designers Wond Design. Learn how to elevate your report’s visual appearance by understanding the different formats and finishes available when printing your report.

Read The Guide >


When it comes to designing an annual report, choosing the right format and finish can make a significant impact on its overall effectiveness. An annual report is a crucial communication tool for any organisation, serving as a summary of its financial and operational performance over the previous year. It’s an opportunity to highlight achievements, goals, and future plans while building brand awareness and credibility with stakeholders. However, creating an impactful annual report goes beyond just compiling financial data and achievements; it also requires careful consideration of the design elements, including the format and finish. A well-designed annual report not only conveys the message effectively but also captures the attention of the reader, makes a lasting impression, and sets the tone for the company’s brand image.

Making your annual report design stand out

The format and finishes chosen for an annual report can greatly impact how it stands out from the crowd. Companies have several options to choose from to create an impressive and visually appealing annual report that captures the attention of stakeholders. In this article, we will explore the best formats and finishes for annual reports to make them truly standout.

When it comes to formats, companies can choose between print, digital, and interactive options. Print is the traditional format for annual reports and can still make a strong impression with its tactile nature. A well-designed print annual report with high-quality printing and finishes, such as embossing or foil stamping, can convey a sense of prestige and importance. It allows stakeholders to flip through the pages and physically hold the report, which can create a sense of value and credibility.


Digital annual reports, on the other hand, offer more flexibility and interactivity. They can be easily shared online and accessed on various devices, including desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Digital reports can include multimedia elements, such as videos, animations, and interactive infographics, which can enhance the overall user experience. They also offer the option for hyperlinks and interactive navigation, allowing stakeholders to easily access specific sections or information of interest. Digital annual reports can be designed with modern and dynamic layouts, making them visually appealing and engaging.


Interactive annual reports are gaining popularity for their immersive and interactive nature. These reports go beyond the traditional print or digital formats by incorporating interactive elements, such as quizzes, surveys, and interactive charts or graphs. Interactive reports provide stakeholders with a unique and personalized experience, allowing them to engage with the content in a more interactive and meaningful way. This format can be particularly effective for companies that want to convey a sense of innovation and technology-driven approach.


In addition to the format, the finishes chosen for an annual report can also greatly impact how it stands out. Finishes refer to the different coatings or treatments applied to the printed materials to enhance their visual and tactile appeal.

Report Design Agency Spread & Layout Designs

2. Selecting a perfect format and finish for your annual report

An annual report is a vital communication tool for organizations to convey their financial performance, achievements, and future prospects to stakeholders such as shareholders, investors, employees, and customers. In addition to the content and design, the format and finishes of an annual report play a crucial role in creating a lasting impression and conveying the intended message effectively. With a plethora of options available, choosing the right format and finishes can elevate your annual report to new heights and make it stand out from the rest. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various format and finish options for annual reports, providing insights and ideas to help you add that extra wow factor to your next report.


Paper Size: Going Beyond A4 for Eye-Catching Appeal

The paper size of an annual report can make a significant impact on its visual appeal. While the standard A4 size (8.27 x 11.69 inches) is commonly used for annual reports due to its practicality and cost-effectiveness, opting for a different paper size can instantly make your report stand out. Considerations such as the nature of your organization, target audience, and budget will influence your choice of paper size.


One option to consider is going for a larger paper size, such as A3 (11.69 x 16.53 inches) or even larger, which can create a sense of grandeur and importance. However, it’s important to note that larger paper sizes may have implications for printing and distribution, as they may require special printing equipment and larger envelopes for mailing. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with your printer and designer to ensure feasibility and cost-effectiveness.


On the other hand, you can also consider opting for a smaller paper size, such as A5 (5.83 x 8.27 inches) or even smaller, which can create a unique and distinctive look. Smaller formats can be practical for handing out at events, conferences, or presentations, and can also save on printing and mailing costs. Again, consulting with your designer and printer can help you determine the best options within your budget.

In addition to the standard paper sizes, there are also various non-standard paper sizes available in the market, such as square, panoramic, or custom-cut sizes. These unconventional paper sizes can add a touch of creativity and innovation to your annual report design, making it visually appealing and memorable. However, it’s essential to consider the practicality of using non-standard paper sizes in terms of printing, binding, and mailing, as they may require special handling and incur additional costs.


Paper Stock: Enhancing the Look and Feel of Your Annual Report

The paper stock you choose for your annual report can also have a significant impact on how it’s perceived. The feel of the report in your hand can have a considerable effect and reaction for the recipient. Certain papers have textural properties and help communicate a concept, while others are more functional and selected to meet environmental considerations.


Some popular paper stocks for annual reports include matte, glossy, uncoated, and recycled. Matte paper has a non-reflective surface that gives the report a sophisticated and professional look. Glossy paper, on the other hand, has a shiny surface that makes colors and images pop. Uncoated paper has a natural and textured feel that adds a tactile element to the report. Recycled paper is an eco-friendly option that shows your company’s commitment to sustainability.


It’s also essential to consider the paperweight as this can help to define the cover pages from content. A heavier paperweight for the cover page can give the report a more premium and professional feel. On the other hand, a lighter paperweight for the inside pages can help reduce printing and distribution costs.


Lamination and Spot UV Varnish

Lamination and spot UV varnish are finishing options that can add a premium touch to your annual report. Lamination is a thin layer added to the paper to give it a certain feel and look. This comes in gloss or matt and is usually applied to the whole page. It’s mostly used on covers and can be used in conjunction with a spot UV varnish, to provide a contrast.

A spot UV varnish is a thin transparent layer applied to certain graphic or image areas of the page, making it shine and look glossy. This is great for adding subtle touches and highlighting specific elements of the report. Combining lamination and spot UV varnish can create a unique and visually stunning report that captures the reader’s attention.

Die Cutting

Die cutting is a process of cutting a part of, or a shape into, the paper. This can be great in creating intrigue by revealing an image or graphic from underneath the page. It can also be used as a design feature that helps enhance the overall concept of the annual report. Die cutting can be used on the cover page or inside pages, and it can create a memorable and engaging report that stands out from the crowd.


Binding or Stitching

When it comes to binding or stitching an annual report, there are numerous options to choose from. One of the most common binding techniques is saddle stitching or staple stitching, which is ideal for smaller reports and involves binding the pages together with wire staples. Perfect binding, on the other hand, is a great option for thicker reports with a higher page count (between 40 and 700 pages) and involves using adhesive glue along the spine to bind the pages together. Another popular option is Wiro binding, which uses a metal wire loop to bind the report down one side and is available in different colors. This type of binding is often used for manuals and reference guides due to its durability and ease of use.

Screw fixing is another binding method, where holes are drilled into the pages and screws are inserted, giving the report a focal element. Other binding methods include case binding, which is used for hardback books, and various types of string and sewn binding. Ultimately, the choice of binding or stitching will depend on the size and purpose of the annual report, as well as the budget and personal preference of the client.

Get in touch for a quote today

3. Cost impact for different annual report formats and finishes

When it comes to designing a corporate brochure, selecting the right format and finish can significantly impact the budget. Understanding the different options and their pricing structures can help ensure that the final product meets the desired look and feel while staying within budget.

One of the most significant factors impacting the cost of corporate brochure design is the paper size. Non-standard paper sizes such as A5 or square formats can give the corporate brochure a unique look and feel, but these formats may come at an additional cost due to special paper requirements and increased printing costs. Sticking to standard paper sizes such as A4 or letter size can help keep costs under control.

The paper stock chosen for the corporate brochure is another factor impacting the overall cost. Certain paper types are more expensive than others, and the texture, weight, and environmental considerations may affect the price. For example, choosing recycled paper or paper with a unique texture may come at an additional cost. More budget-friendly options include standard coated or uncoated paper with a lighter weight.

Lamination and spot UV varnish are popular finishes used to add gloss or matte effects to a corporate brochure’s cover page or selected graphic areas. Lamination involves adding a thin layer of film to the paper, which comes in either gloss or matte finish. Spot UV varnish, on the other hand, is a transparent layer applied only to specific areas to create a contrast between the glossy and matte finish. While both finishes can significantly enhance the overall look of the report, they can also be costly, especially when applied to a large surface area.

Die cutting is a process that involves cutting out specific shapes from the paper, creating unique effects and adding intrigue to the report. While this process can add an extra touch of creativity to the report, it is also an expensive process due to the additional setup required.

Binding or stitching options such as perfect binding, saddle stitch, wiro binding, screw fixing, and case binding are all viable options for corporate brochures. The chosen binding method can impact the final product’s overall cost. Saddle stitch is the most affordable option and is ideal for smaller reports, while perfect binding and wiro binding are more expensive and better suited for thicker reports. Case binding is the most expensive option but is necessary when a hardcover is required.

Embossing and debossing are finishes that involve creating raised or indented shapes on the paper, adding a unique tactile experience to the report. While embossing and debossing are relatively affordable finishes, they do require additional setup and production time.

Foil blocking is a process of applying a metallic foil to specific areas of the report to add a touch of luxury and sophistication. This finish can significantly impact the cost due to the additional material required and the labor-intensive process of applying the foil.

Metallic or special inks are another way to add a touch of luxury to the report. Metallic inks contain metallic particles that create a metallic sheen when applied to paper. While metallic inks are less expensive than foil blocking, they still add an additional cost due to the unique ink and printing process required.

4. Impact of different formats and finishes on a reader’s experience

The choice of format and finish can significantly impact the viewer’s experience and perception of the report. One important aspect to consider when designing a corporate brochure is the format. Different formats can evoke different emotions and associations, which can impact the viewer’s perception of the company. For example, a traditional bound book format can convey a sense of stability and reliability, while a digital format can be seen as more modern and tech-savvy. A booklet format can feel more informal and approachable, while a glossy magazine format can create a sense of luxury and exclusivity. The choice of format should be aligned with the company’s brand identity and messaging.

The finish of a corporate brochure plays a crucial role in shaping the reader’s experience. For instance, embossing or debossing can provide a tactile experience for the reader, which can help to make the report feel more high-end and professional. Additionally, the use of foil stamping or metallic ink can create a visual impact, catching the reader’s eye and directing their attention to important information. The use of spot UV coating can provide a glossy or matte finish, drawing attention to specific images or text.

Matt or Gloss

Matt finish has a soft and subtle texture that creates a sophisticated, luxurious feel. It is particularly suitable for corporate brochures that require a professional or elegant look. The texture of the paper is less reflective than glossy finishes, which makes it easy to read and reduces glare. This finish is also ideal for corporate brochures that will be heavily annotated or highlighted as it is easier to write on than glossy paper. The matte finish is a popular choice for companies looking to make a lasting impression while still conveying a sense of sophistication and professionalism.

On the other hand, a glossy finish creates a smooth and shiny surface that reflects light, making the colors more vivid and vibrant. This finish is ideal for companies looking to create a bold, high-impact design. The reflective surface is visually stunning and can help draw the reader’s attention to key elements of the report. However, it is not recommended for heavily annotated or highlighted documents, as it can be difficult to write on and may result in smudging. Overall, the glossy finish creates a modern and dynamic impression, and is often used for corporate brochures with a more contemporary or creative design.

Conclusion for formats and finishes in annual reports

In conclusion, the format and finish of your annual report design is crucial in conveying your company’s message effectively to your stakeholders. While selecting the right format and finish might require a substantial investment, it can lead to a significant return on investment in terms of building your brand’s reputation and reinforcing your business objectives. Remember to take into consideration your budget, your audience, and your company’s vision when choosing your design options.
When it comes to annual report design, striking a balance between creativity, practicality, and cost-effectiveness can be challenging. However, by working with a team of experts, you can achieve a design that fits your budget, meets your business needs, and leaves a lasting impression on your stakeholders. Ultimately, a well-designed annual report not only informs but also inspires, communicates your company’s achievements and values, and builds trust with your stakeholders. So, take the time to craft a annual report design that aligns with your company’s brand and vision, and see the positive impact it has on your business.

Happy To Help. Anytime.

We work with your organisation to create beautifully designed reports.
To get in contact directly with the team, please email us at