Annual Report Designing And Writing

Andrew Pegler Media (APM) has been writing, designing and project managing annual reports since 2006. In that period, Australians have had seven Prime Ministers, the iPhone was released and China’s TikTok became a major player against Facebook and Instagram. We’ve clearly had a lot of time to learn a thing or two about best practice, and we’re confident we’ve mastered the fine art of the annual report. So are our repeat customers… We’ve crafted more than 100 targeted, tailored annual reports for state and federal governments, local councils and leading companies – both in Australia and abroad.

Every design element on every page has a clear purpose – to inform and engage. APM’s plain English copy is easy-to-read, but never ‘dumbed down’. We won’t change your meaning or intent. We always stay on-brand, telling the story of your year, the way you want it done. And, we make sure it looks the way you want, too. Plus, we never miss a deadline.

Our offering includes:

  • creating a timeline for deliverables
  • working out who’s doing what, and by when
  • interviews, editing, writing, proofing
  • chasing up deliverables
  • design, layout and image selection/sourcing
  • filming and animation
  • printing.

Annual report design

We agree with David Craib who said, “Design should never say, ‘Look at me.’ It should always say, ‘Look at this.'” Our annual report designers artfully meld clever design, typography and colour. These are combined with images and graphic elements to reinforce your brand and build collateral for your ‘social licence’. This helps you forge trust. Our infographics, charts, tables and icons bring context to statistics – your readers can’t help but engage.

Annual report writing and editing

Mark Twain put it best when penning to a friend, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Indeed, appearances are deceptive. What feels like a simple, effective message is usually the product of long and careful crafting. And that’s where we come in.

APM was established in 2000. We embraced a global trend towards plain English editing and copy for corporations, government and academia. We’re still here today, helping organisations communicate clear, relevant messages. Our specialist annual report writers, editors and proofreaders follow APM’s eight rules for plain English…

  1. Consider your audience.
  2. Keep it simple.
  3. If you have to look up a word’s meaning, don’t use it.
  4. Use the active voice.
  5. Don’t use jargon if there’s a plain English equivalent.
  6. Get your punctuation right.
  7. Have one idea per sentence.
  8. If it’s not crucial, delete it.

Annual report project management

Our first meeting will establish your needs and develop a program for delivering everything you need, on agreed dates. We’ll identify who’s responsible for what and when. APM’s rigorous project management methodology keeps the project on schedule. We’re always asking, Where are we against where we should be? Charts track timeframes and deliverables – which tasks can be done concurrently and which sequentially? We are as flexible as you need us to be because the only constant in life is change.

Critical Infrastructure Victoria

The brief

Victorians rely on the essential services that Victoria’s eight critical infrastructure sectors provide to underpin our social and economic wellbeing. APM has produced four All Sectors Resilience Reports providing an overview of the sectors, their key emergency risks, the resilience improvement initiatives they completed over the year and what’s proposed for the next one. As with the other annual reports we’ve produced, this one needed to highlight the benefits of continued collaboration and the ongoing focus of boosting our resilience to key emergency risks.


The brief from Critical Infrastructure Victoria (CIV) was very specific: the design and images needed to equally reflect the eight critical infrastructure sectors, and their importance to urban and regional communities across Victoria. An additional challenge was to represent CIV’s core business of crisis management without the use of ‘sensational’ images or repeating of images from previous reports (not an easy task when relying solely on free stock images). Overall, the message was one of the resilience of each sector to the shocks and stressors of emergency events. APM’s design solution used a ‘clean’ layout (plenty of white space) with large format images, and a wheel motif representing the interdependence of the eight sectors.

Copywriting, editing and project management 

This regular APM client, wanted an annual report that would allow the public to understand the important work of this obscure, but crucial corner of government. Drawing from a mix of rough, existing material, press releases, ministerial speeches and reports, APM pulled together content for each sector of Victoria’s critical infrastructure. We then plain English edited the copy to ensure it was easily digestible by the general public without sacrificing its intent or intellectual rigour. This is a typical balancing act for us and one we always welcome.


Critical Infrastracture Victoria
Critical Dependencies Food Groceries

The 2019 Global Status of CCS Report

The brief

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is an emissions reduction technology critical to meeting global climate targets. The Global Status of CCS 2019 documents important milestones for CCS over that year, its status across the world and the key opportunities and challenges it faces.

Copywriting, editing and project management 

Taking an initial draft of supplied content, APM’s substantive editing assessed and shaped the copy to:

  • improve its structure, organisation and content
  • clarify meaning
  • improve flow
  • smooth out the language.

We also ensured it was audience appropriate and in a single tone – not in the different tones and styles of different authors. In addition, we formatted references and footnotes to be in a consistent style. Considerable stakeholder management and engagement was involved across a number of drafts. The final product was presented with great success at the United Nations.


Design was done by the very talented team at Fluid, an APM strategic partner.

Thank you for your professionalism and intellectual rigour. APM’s attention to detail made a huge difference to the quality of the final product.

Global status of ccs
Global status of ccs page 2
Global status of ccs page 3

Life Saving Victoria

The brief

Life Saving Victoria (LSV) wanted an annual report that highlighted its engagement with the community and its stakeholders. It wanted to reflect its wide range of water safety activities across Victoria’s coastline, inland rivers and lakes, and public swimming pools.


The annual report’s cover and images needed to highlight the chosen theme of ‘One Word’ to describe lifesaving. Images and infographics were represented in a highly visual style. Photos needed to project LSV as a professional, active organisation while showcasing the diversity of its activities and services 

Copywriting, editing and project management 

In consultation with APM, LSV developed a copy template so management could record financial and business activities for the year. It covered:

  • major milestones
  • current and looming challenges
  • community links
  • stakeholder engagement.

APM then project managed the collection of copy across the organisation. We finessed the rough wording within the templates in to clear, concise, engaging plain English; ensuring LSV’s strategic themes and core values shone through.

Live Saving Victoria


Addressing the drowning tollareas of focus member development

Vision Australia

The brief

Vision Australia is a leading national provider of blindness and low vision services. This not-for-profit organisation had distinctive requirements so its annual report would be user friendly to the community it serves. The content needed to appeal to a broad range of stakeholders; from funding bodies to service users and volunteers. Language had to be inclusive and descriptive and the design had to meet very strict accessibility standards.


Vision Australia’s annual report presented some unique challenges. Accessibility for readers with low vision was essential. This meant working within very specific design parameters, such as a limited colour palette and minimum font size, while creating a distinctly different ‘look and feel’ to the previous year’s report. APM’s solution was to use Vision Australia’s ‘four pillars of success’ theme as the basis for our design — exceeding Vision Australia’s expectations.

Copywriting, editing and project management 

Copy was sourced from a mixture of internal stakeholders, press releases, phone interviews, existing communications and other assorted collateral. The tone had to express Vision Australia’s integrity and professionalism — that it listens, adapts, learns and has the greatest respect for its clients.

Pillars of successOur people numbers

New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC)

The brief

2019 was the second consecutive year NSWALC commissioned APM to write and design its annual report – and we’ve already commenced 2020’s! The organisation wanted a repeat of the high level of professionalism we bring to writing, design and project management of annual reports i.e. a consistent editorial style in plain English, a logical structure, an attractive design that expresses NSWALC’s core values and very tight project management – we never miss a deadline!


APM’s design took a more spacious approach to the layout to enhance visual appeal and readability. Using the Aboriginal flag colour palette we also standardised graphs, charts and typography throughout the report.

Copywriting, editing and project management 

APM organised the structure of the report and the information in each section to achieve a sequential flow of content. Both structural and copy editing were required on supplied copy, which came from many different sources. This included rationalisation of repetitive information to form section introductions/overview while ensuring a consistent, clear voice throughout. We also created copy from primary sources and interviews, including with the Chair and the CEO.

Thanks for another amazing annual report! Your hard work, professionalism and advice makes things so much easier at our end. We’ll be in touch for next year’s!

Our land Our mob our futurewhat we will achieveprotect our culture and heritage

Global Experience

The brief

Global experience (Ge) commissioned APM for the concept, design and layout of its annual report. As a provider of homestay accommodation for overseas students, Ge wanted the report to reflect its high standard of care for the welfare of students and hosts.


APM’s design solution focused on strong imagery and a clean layout to produce a visually appealing and engaging report. Ge’s colour palette, type style and logo was a consistent theme across sections, and we used graphics to present data in a more accessible and informative way.

Copywriting, editing and project management 

Supplied copy required substantial editing and proofing. APM was also tasked with organising supplementary information into a series of appendices to enable a seamless flow of information in the narrative of the report.

We really appreciate all the work you’ve done in producing our report in such a short timeframe. We’re very pleased with the outcome!

Global Experience

stay home families  homestay specialist

Country Fire Association

The brief

This is the second annual report APM has produced for CFA. It required a theme that was reminiscent of the previous year but, nonetheless, had a character of its own. The design needed to reflect the continuing development of CFA over the previous 12 months, and highlight the organisation’s other roles in community safety and wellbeing, apart from firefighting.


Building upon the success of last year’s annual report, APM’s design for CFA’s 2017–2018 report delivered a clean, modern and engaging aesthetic. Striking graphics, images, colours and type were used to capture the attention of the audience, and convey CFA’s key messages and data in an easy to understand way. The icons created by APM, which were used throughout the report, provided a visual representation of CFA’s roles and responsibilities in the community. Greater use of the CFA colour palette was also used to define each section.

Copywriting, editing and project management 

APM used a mix of interviews with staff, case studies and primary source documentation to create engaging and informative copy. The aim was to reinforce CFA’s growth as an open, multicultural and tolerant organisation that represented the 3.3 million Victorians, in over a million homes and properties across the state, that it protects.

We love where you’ve taken this design. It illustrates the changes in CFA and our development as an inclusive organisation that’s representative of the communities which we work.

Country Fire Authority
Priority Projects
Community Engagment


The brief:

For the second year running, VicRoads asked APM to project manage the copy development of its annual report. VicRoads wanted a cohesive, plain English document that clearly told its story and reflected the key focus areas of their corporate plan. APM skillfully managed the many stakeholders to deliver a final product that pleased all parties.

Copywriting, editing and project management

This job involved making sense of large amounts of material and presenting it in an interesting way. We also had to ensure that state reporting requirements were met and that the document was consistent with VicRoads’ style. We wrote an engaging summary; then case studies and data were finessed to reflect key messages. Other information was consolidated, simplified and edited. Due to the tight timeframe, where there were gaps, we often did our own research using VicRoads’ website and other Victorian government reports. This helped make the document more strategic and kept the process moving.

 “Thanks so much … APM was a pleasure to work with and tremendous in reworking the content and taking on feedback from stakeholders to produce a clear and concise narrative around our key initiatives. ”

VicRoads Annual Report