Making an impact in print


For our first annual report for the commercial arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) we created a clear editorial structure and narrative before taking a highly visual approach.


We have been working with the IDB since 2014, so, when its private sector development arm, the ICD, was looking for fresh editorial and design thinking for its annual report, they came to Blackwood. The client was keen to create an impressive piece that would put them on a similar footing with the private sector divisions of large development banks.


The ICD had previously used their logo as the main graphical element of their annual reports. With free rein to develop a new graphic style, we used highly dynamic shapes and impactful colour, making full use of the ICD’s colour palette. Graphics overlaid photography to create interest and movement, and we sourced some extremely eye catching people and reportage shots to showcase the benefits that the ICD’s work has on the lives of people in many different countries. This contrasted well with infographic-led spreads where we highlighted some of the big numbers involved in the ICD’s work.

The client was also keen for the annual report to have a stronger narrative. We reworked their corporate themes into four themes, giving them greater impact and editing the client’s supplied content so that the ICD could tell a clearer story about its work in, and the benefits it is bringing to, different parts of the Islamic world. The report is full of short case studies that highlight the diversity of the ICD’s work and small teaser boxes direct the reader to other interesting stories throughout the report.

The report was translated into English, French and Arabic – the main working languages of the ICD – and Blackwood did all of the translation design. We also advised the client on printing, using a printer able to provide the specialist finish that the client required. The report was produced ready for the ICD’s annual meeting in May 2017 in Jeddah. USBs loaded with the report were also supplied to provide a light-weight option for delegates travelling internationally.

It's always rewarding to complete the first project for a new client. The trust placed in Blackwood by the ICD to write and design the 2016 Annual Report is testament to our creative reputation overseas

Andy Ritchie


Our work on the ICD’s annual report has transformed a dry report into a showcase for the client of its work and impact throughout the Islamic world. The report also demonstrates Blackwood’s full editorial and design capability – highlighting our ability to create a content strategy and narrative, to shape content and to extend the themes into the visual application via an array of features.

The result is a confident articulation of the ICD’s work and strategy that creates an autonomous identity for the client within the larger Islamic Development Bank. What’s more, it more than holds its own alongside the biggest players in the development finance sector.