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Meet Our 2019 Research Team: The Design Duo

To kick off the seventh edition of The Works’ 2019 Sustainability Reporting Trends, we asked our research team about this year’s findings and observations. Here’s what our design specialists had to say.

A woman looks to her left.

Nicole Bryczkowski, Designer

What is your role on the trends research project?

As one of the designers on the trends team, I’ve been auditing reports for their use of core design elements such as colour, photography, typography, UX/UI, and storytelling. I also look at whether or not companies are successful in communicating their overall story. When we put all the data together, this helps us see a picture of emerging report design trends. I’ve also been working on the visual style for our 2019 report of findings!

What stands out to you most about the report design trends you’re seeing this year?

There is a nice balance of two equally good strategies. Some companies seem to have locked down a really strong, consistent visual approach to their reporting, and don’t mess with what isn’t broken – they execute on a great design year after year. Other companies aren’t afraid to go the other way – they shake things and take bigger risks to tell their story in a different way each year.

What don’t you see that you’d like in sustainability communications?

Good typesetting. You could put together a small novel with the amount of widowed and orphaned text that’s present in these reports (and that’s not a good thing). Let’s make good typesetting the next big report design trend.

What has been your favourite sector to work on and why?

Consumer goods, especially the Patagonia Environmental & Social Initiative report – which was one of the few that is still printed. Even though it didn’t check off a lot of our boxes (when it came to traditional reporting elements – and isn’t technically a Sustainability Report) it’s a beautiful and well thought out piece of work. I wish more companies would invest that much attention to detail when it comes to photography, storytelling and overall design strategy.

We’ve developed a few inside jokes on the trends team. Which is your fave?

“But is it AODA?” Some reports have gone out of their way to be inclusive to a wider audience (AXA, for example, has an audio playback feature on the online report). But there are many reports that still don’t pass basic typography or colour contrast requirements. Here at The Works, we strive to leave no man or woman behind. ✌️

 

A man in glasses.

David Rodriguez, Designer

What is your role on the trends research project?

My role in trends is to look at the reports from a design perspective. This includes looking at different layouts, photography, and other elements used in each report, to try to see how effective they are to the overall picture.

What stands out to you most about the report design trends you’re seeing this year?

Since this is my first year, I haven’t had the opportunity to compare year over year. That being said, this year definitely has some really interesting reports. The reports that do stand out to me are the ones that are easy to read and follow, that implement a working navigation, and have strong layouts that balance text, photography and data elements to guide the reader through the content.

What don’t you see that you’d like in sustainability communications?

There are more than a few reports with interactive capabilities. However, I think it would be nice to see this across the board. Especially when talking about complex concepts like the SDGs and materiality, I think adding an interactive element (even if its a simple link to additional content) can really help not only engage, but break down and more effectively explain each idea. Merck KGaA had some simple additions that went a long way.

What has been your favourite sector to work on and why?

It’s hard to pick a favourite sector because I feel like there has definitely been some standouts within each sector. That being said, if I had to pick one, I think the Consumer Good and Retail sector had some really strong reports. For the most part, they are the reports that consistently hit the mark: incorporated photography and other visuals effectively, and had a clean layout and design that was aligned to the company brand.

We’ve developed a few inside jokes on the trends team. Which is your fave?

The classic “Circles, circles, circles!” which encapsulates an overwhelming design trend we are seeing across numerous reports in every sector.

 

The 2019 Edition of our Sustainability Reporting Trends and Best Practices launches in September.
Be sure to sign up for In Scope Digest to receive your copy. 



Madi Lantz

Madi has worked as the Marketing Assistant at The Works since 2018. She is in the final stretch of completing her Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management at Dalhousie University. She lives by the 3 S's - Social Media, Starbucks & Shoes


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