Changes in financial reporting already affect design

I read with interest Richard Clayton’s news story Law change will affect annual report designers (DW 22 May). While it is clear that the planned legislation will impact on how design consultancies approach annual reports, I would argue that many of the st

I read with interest Richard Clayton’s news story Law change will affect annual report designers (DW 22 May).

While it is clear that the planned legislation will impact on how design consultancies approach annual reports, I would argue that many of the stated implications are already in existence, and have arisen from the wider context of changes within the industry. I would even go as far as to suggest that any design group that hasn’t already reviewed its approach to annual report production has been caught napping.

Over the past few years, many groups have refined their work practices, finding themselves under mounting pressure to tighten deadlines, to cut costs and to work more closely with annual report contributors and advisors. In addition, the importance of the annual report as a communication tool has increased significantly over the past ten years.

New technologies have been at the forefront of these changes, promoting remote access, collaborative workflows, and closer liaison with clients in the production of all forms of corporate literature, not just annual reports.

Shortening lead times, reducing errors, and protecting the corporate brand are all considerations that can be addressed through the use of technology. Improving the strategic position of designers and their clients has become paramount to success, and technology is an integral part of this process.

It would be wrong to assume that it is the proposed legislation that will drive these changes. It may bring the subject to the forefront of a wider debate, but forward-thinking design groups have already confronted these issues.

The progressive development already evident within sections of the design community, combined with innovations in technology, should ensure that the impact of the legislation on annual report design will be less severe than anticipated.

Phil Arnold

Technical director

Automatrix

London N5

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