British Gas reports get the write stuff

Fishburn Hedges designed and co-wrote the 1994 British Gas annual reports released last week – the latest example of a blue chip client briefing design consultancies to contribute words as well as images to annual reports.

The consultancy, which won a two-year contract to design British Gas annual reports last July, has written the majority of this year’s report – the first time British Gas has not written all its own copy.

And Fishburn Hedges is working on similar projects for two other clients. “There is a growing understanding that the words are as important to the messages given out by the report as the visuals,” says Charles Downing, director at Fishburn Hedges.

The British Gas annual report and summary was issued on Friday to 1.9 million investors, and a further 100 000 will be printed for analysts. Operating and financial statistics and other data will be available in a pack of disks.

Philip Mann, principal at annual report specialist Bamber Forsyth, says that a growing trend on the part of clients is for annual report and accounts to “work ever-harder as a communication tool”.

Mann adds: “To do that effectively, clients understand that both the visual and editorial content has to be pulling in the same direction.”

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