by Angela Rodenhauser

July 13, 2015

From differentiation to discipline, consistency to partnership, the most recent annual report season featured a variety of strong themes as companies endeavored to tell their stories in new and compelling ways. Here are a few notable examples:


A flexible set of colors and design elements has helped Sherwin-Williams present a consistent brand identity from year to year.  Distinctive colors and photography highlight the company’s four reportable segments throughout each report, as well as the company overview and geographic reach map. As a result, the three latest reports have an impactful, consistent style that reflects the company’s leadership and strong financial performance in the paints and coatings industry.

Fairmount Santrol – Defining Different

For Fairmount Santrol, last year was a milestone year as it completed its initial public offering and adopted a new name. The company’s first-ever annual report was an important vehicle for communicating its differentiation through its breadth of product offerings, technology expertise, logistics capabilities and geographic footprint.  As part of Fairmount Santrol’s deep-rooted commitment to Sustainable Development, the theme and design of the annual report was closely coordinated with its Corporate Social Responsibility report.

IDEX – Disciplined Choices 

Reflecting a change in how IDEX, a global fluidics leader, talks about itself to investors, the annual report team developed the “Disciplined Choices” theme to present the story through real employees. This photographic approach featuring IDEX employees shows how the organization is truly working together to achieve long-term strategic goals.

Calumet Specialty Products – Investing in Partnership

To highlight its refining capabilities, Calumet introduced a high-impact, innovative design featuring a die cut on the cover with a gatefold to call attention to key facts, financial highlights and its corporate vision.  The use of financial charts overlaying photos provides a dynamic, compelling and attention-grabbing feel to the information, and the at-a-glance spread features the company’s four major capital investment projects instead of the usual business segments.

I hope you have an opportunity to take a look at these reports, which might spark ideas as you begin to think about your next annual – after all, planning for the 2015 annual report season is right around the corner. In the meantime, have a great summer!