That ranking

The panel – Mandy Merron, accountant and partner with Willott Kingston Smith – Richard Carpenter, financial journalist with Investor Relations – Steve Gibbons, identity and literature designer – – Simply the best – PolyGram 1996 – Designed by Johnson Ban

The panel

Mandy Merron, accountant and partner with Willott Kingston Smith

Richard Carpenter, financial journalist with Investor Relations

Steve Gibbons, identity and literature designer

Simply the best

PolyGram 1996

Designed by Johnson Banks

Mandy Merron: “It has an immediate feel to it. It’s clear and consistent. The photography doesn’t clutter up the financial message… and the words and numbers matched.”

Steve Gibbons: “It’s quite stunning. It has a vibrant, exciting image. I love the way it splits between control and creativity.”

In with a chance

Pharmacia & Upjohn 1996

Designed by Pauffley PRL

Richard Carpenter: “The group profile at the front gives a quick idea of what the company is about. It appeals to a lot of different people, but is let down by a lack of charts and graphs. A great improvement over the previous one” (the 1995 report designed by Newell and Sorrell).

Least liked

Fitch 1996

Designed by Fitch

Mandy Merron: “I liked the newspaper [review of the year], but felt the overall design worked against you though the words and numbers stacked up.”

Richard Carpenter: “I felt they should know better. The newspaper is an innovative idea, but it is going to get ripped to pieces… and will get lost, separated or muddled with the pile of newspapers at home. The financial figures are a mess, with nothing pulled out for you and no decent graphs. I felt that if you didn’t know who Fitch was, you wouldn’t be able to get a handle on what it did.”

Provident Financial 1996

Designed by Bamber Forsyth

Steve Gibbons: “It’s very drab with big irritating headings. It gave no clear sense of what the company is about. The choice of paper made the colour pictures die on the page.”

The rest

The Economist Group 1996

Designed by Abbott Mead Vickers

Steve Gibbons: “On first viewing I couldn’t fathom the choice of pictures. It’s beautifully written and I loved the honesty.”

Mandy Merron: “I loved the pictures, they made me howl. But the cover irritated me.”

ABSA 1995/6

Designed by Kate Stephens

Richard Carpenter: “ABSA gets lost on the cover.”

Steve Gibbons: “The designer is trying to create beautiful textures on a page, but some [the accounts] look funereal.”

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