Bards of the balance sheet
How corporate designers turn routine annual reports into epic narratives of business triumph
If someone were to write for graphic design the equivalent of John Ruskin’s Seven Pillars of Architecture, cetainly one of the principal columns supporting our collective overhead would be the annual report. Hailed by securities analysts, portfolio managers and investors as ‘the single most important document a public company produces’ (according to a 1995 study conducted by Yankelovich Partners for the pulp and paper giant Potlatch Corporation), what began over 300 years ago as an oral address at annual guild banquets has become in the late twentieth century the most sophisticated form of corporate oratory yet devised.
Will Novosedlik, graphic designer, Toronto
Read the full version in Eye no. 21 vol. 6, 1996
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