People Inc. Annual Report

Effectively communicating impact.

Hillhouse Creative has been collaborating with People Incorporated since 2009. The organization serves 16 cities and counties in Virginia and provides opportunities for economically disadvantaged people to reach their goals in order to enhance their lives, their families, and their communities.

People Inc. wanted to change things up for their 2020 annual report. The goals included:

  • Introduce more color
  • Rethink the presentation of data
  • Develop a theme related to their resiliency and commitment during the Covid-19 shutdown
  • Focus on the stories of the people and communities empowered by their services

Thinking Through the Structure

Because we were changing things up this year, we used page break thumbnails to review the structure of the report. These helped us visually organize information and determine the final page count.

We placed key content in high-visibility areas: front cover, inside front cover, middle spread, inside back cover, and back cover. These pages are easily skimmable and saddle-stitched publications tend to naturally fall open to the middle spread, which makes it an ideal place for important information.

Exploring Themes

The theme for the 2020 report needed to speak to the organization’s resiliency and flexibility during the Covid-19 shutdown. An internal brainstorm produced sixteen possible themes. Our team narrowed those down to two favorites:

Different Perspectives

We created cover and interior spread mockups for each concept using rough draft profile copy from the client. When complete, each concept addressed the client’s goals in a unique way.

Concept 1 — The Power of People

This concept used:

Concept 2 — Challenges, Changes, Connections for Growth

This concept used:

Planning for Custom Photography

We used stock photography while working on the concept and layout. This allowed us to keep working and provided inspiration for our photographers. Planning lifestyle brand photography during a pandemic presented some scheduling challenges with photographers and our participants. We partnered with four photographers who lived in or could travel to Southwest and Northern Virginia to capture our seven profile stories.

We provided each photographer with sample layouts, art direction, and sample photographs from the first session. This made it easier to match the style. And because we were unable to scout locations ahead of time our photographers had to be ready for anything.

Showing the Impact

Previous annual reports peppered infographics throughout the piece, corresponding to relevant content. This year, we wanted to present the data in one centralized location. Conveniently located in the middle spread, readers are presented a visual story of the organization’s impact in 2020.

An Effective Tool

People Incorporated’s annual report is an effective communication tool. Each year the CEO provides copies of the report to state legislators to help advance the organization’s legislative priorities. People Inc. displays copies at various office locations and provides them to funders and other partners. The report gives them the opportunity to share information about who they are as an organization and share success stories from the previous year.

We were really happy with the annual report this year. Various stakeholders, partners and board members all commented on the look and feel of the report. It went over really well. Even staff asked for copies to display in different locations. We had to order more reports because we have given so many out and people keep asking for more!

Rachel Fogg
Public Information Officer at People Incorporated of Virginia

People incorporated

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