How might we make a non-profit's Annual Report engaging?


Editorial design, graphic design


Village Health Works (VHW) is a non-profit that strives to provide high quality health care in Burundi, one of the poorest countries in Africa. I was tasked with designing VHW's 2013 Annual Report, which would be distributed to donors, the media, and the VHW community.


5 weeks


Worked with VHW staff to obtain full copy and design entire Annual Report.


The Considerations

Incorporating two main client priorities.

VHW wanted two things: first, to spotlight the different key programs - such as Agriculture, Education, Healthcare - within the organization. Second, to bring the experience of being in Burundi and helping out to an audience that has not really been there before.

Unfortunately, the organization had not had much design help in the past. Its previous reports were created in Microsoft Word, with muted colors and cramped layouts. There wasn't much hierarchy of information: the key messages did not stand out.

Old VHW annual report pages

What VHW did have was a valuable treasure trove of well-taken photographs of locals engaging in their daily activities. The stakeholders I was working with also had a clear idea of the key points they wanted to highlight.

The Design

The final report is characterized by three things: large photos, increased readability, and a color scheme inspired the dyed cloths of the Burundi people.

Photos are the most effective tool to keep readers engaged, so these were displayed prominently on every page. Hierarchy of information was also important; instead of previous reports that were pages of dense text, here the important information - key metrics, quotes, and messages - catches the eye. An element of fun was also introduced, with random corners cut into photos, images bleeding to edges, and the occasional round picture frame.