Illustration: Richard Borge
Printer: Westerham Press
Illustration is something of a rarity in annual reports, which means that when it is used intelligently it really succeeds in grabbing the viewer’s attention. Addison has produced the annual report for its parent, WPP Group, since 1997, using a succession of top-flight, uncompromising illustrators to create jump-out cover artwork, section breakers and punctuation visuals. Benoit Jacques provided visuals in 1997, Steven Appleby in 1998, David Hughes in 1999 and Richard Borge, who works in a compelling mix of two and three dimensions, for 2000.
‘There’s always a risk with illustration,’ says Addison creative director Peter Chodel. ‘You can talk to them, discuss the text, give them a doodle, but ultimately you don’t know what you’ll get back from them.’ Fellow creative director David Slater agrees, ‘In a way that’s what’s makes it intriguing. These guys are on a fine line between illustration and fine art, so to get the best out of them you’ve got to allow them creative freedom.’
Addison uses the opportunity of the WPP Group annual report to produce far more than the statutory facts and figures. Lengthy ‘think pieces’ by heavyweights such as WPP and Guardian Media director Jeremy Bullmore and WPP Group chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell help transform them into more substantial pieces of literature, to be kept and referred to throughout the course of the year. ‘The bar is raised every year,’ says Chodel. ‘But [Addison] is always looking for a vehicle that fits with [WPP’s] corporate goals and ambitions. We want [the annual report] to be intelligent and witty, but also slightly quirky and willing to take a risk.’