We make reports majestic

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When the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) wanted to embrace best practice in international reporting, we worked in partnership with them to develop their flagship publication on the international stage. This high profile project served as the launchpad for Blackwood working on other fascinating projects for the client.

Brief

The IDB is an internationally recognised bank, with nearly 60 member countries. It has a huge global footprint, but, when Blackwood began working with the client, we soon realised there were opportunities for the documentation and marketing to work harder. Our first reporting project was the 1435H annual report, produced in 2015. We worked closely with the client on an open brief, reviewing the draft content and suggesting ways of visualising it to give it impact, gravitas and usability.

Solution

We adopted a more international reporting style in the 1435H report than the Bank had traditionally used, and created new reporting standards for the client, basing its French print version on the English document. Once the English version was approved we produced the Arabic version, meeting all cultural variations (including justified text) and making it work in our design with new Arabic font.

For this project we reinterpreted the text provided to us by the client by highlighting key content through the introduction of interesting infographics. The annual report team had never used infographics before working with Blackwood but they were open to any approaches that would bring their content to life and make their approach more innovative. In response, we created pages of infographics that pick up on major chapter themes.

In the 1436H (2015) report we went one step further, injecting more cultural significance. We indulged our love of Islamic pattern design with decorative chapter breakers and page motifs that took the design to another, richer level. We used an illustrative style that wasn’t regionally-specific and didn’t require cultural interpretation. However, understanding the importance of certain colours in Islamic culture, we created a palette from the IDB’s primary colours, expanding the selection with tints.

Continuing into 2016, we also developed a 16-page digest capturing the main themes from the full report. This smaller A5 publication is easy to distribute during the Annual Meeting and has proved to be a valuable promotional tool.

Impact

The fact that we have produced the IDB’s annual reports for some time now demonstrates that their team trusts us with this important publication. We have struck the right tone – achieving a balance of Islamic and international design approaches. Our success on the annual reports has enabled us to show that we can deliver imaginative and targeted solutions to different operational teams within the bank – most notably our work for the IDB’s Reverse Linkage team.

The Bank’s Annual Report has been significantly revamped and improved and this improvement should continue as it has a major impact on engaging with the stakeholders.

Governor, Islamic Development Bank Group
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