International Monetary Fund
Creating a More Powerful and Memorable Annual Report Design
Bringing the Global Economy
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), a global organization providing financial assistance and advice to its 189 member countries, sought a more effective way to tell the compelling stories of its accomplishments and activities. After an extensive creative review and bidding process, they selected Beth Singer Design for the job.
“Putting a human face on the IMF” was a prime directive from the publisher and his team. Since 2014, we’ve worked closely with the IMF and their web developer to transform the print and digital versions of the report into a series of dynamic accounts of the IMF’s accomplishments that appeal to a wider audience than their current readership.
Beginning with a rigorous analysis and sorting of the information, we determined that much of it did not powerfully communicate the work of the Fund or its objectives, and was visually out-of-date. This led us to recommend that they reorder the narrative of the report. By consolidating and moving the most compelling information to the front, the 100+ page document read more like a magazine and less like a report.
A New Paradigm
The most visible design innovation was a new front section that provided a high-level view of IMF’s major accomplishments. We created “Spotlights”—short feature stories shining a light on the most successful projects of the past year. These two-page spreads featured success stories, initiatives, regional highlights, outstanding employees, original infographics...and more. They visually convey the IMF as the forward-looking organization it is, with an energetic story to tell.
The new front section presented each "spotlight" as a three-part narrative: IMF’s involvement, "behind the scenes," and a learning component aimed at reaching a broader audience. Another requirement was to accommodate translation into seven languages, each for a separate report. Our solution was to use a significant amount of white space to allow flexibility in translation without sacrificing the design aesthetic.
We coordinated with IMF's web developer to ensure the digital version maintained visual continuity with the print version.
“We got the first copies of our annual report today and it looks wonderful! Your deep involvement, creative ideas, understanding, and cajoling helped us all get to the right place.It’s really changed the game in terms of making the fund look open and human.
Big thanks and congratulations from us all.”
—Jeremy Clift, Former Publisher, International Monetary Fund
They asked us to…
Make it easier for readers to understand the critical issues associated with a stable global economy
Provide a dynamic account of the effort and impact of IMF’s work
Put a human face on the IMF
What happened was …
The number of page views and downloads of the AR went from 26,719 in 2014 to 49,710 in 2017.
We developed a new, magazine-like front section summarizing key points and presenting them graphically
We introduced a new information hierarchy and way-finding elements
The new design featured highly relatable infographics and maps, dozens of photographs from the member countries, and conceptual illustrations for greater understanding
Annual report design
Copyediting & writing
Coordinated approach with web developer
Image research & retouching
Print supervision & onsite press inspection
5 years, January–August