We make reports majestic


When the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) 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 launch pad for Blackwood working on other fascinating projects for the client.


The IsDB 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 2014 annual report (1435H) produced during 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.


Our first report in 2014 (1435H) adopted a more international reporting style 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 adapting our design to work seamlessly with Arabic typography.

Continuing into 2015 and 2016, we went one step further, injecting more cultural significance. We explored the rich history of Islamic pattern design with decorative chapter breakers and page motifs. We developed an illustrative style that wasn’t regionally-specific and didn’t require cultural interpretation.


The 2017 report saw us build on these successful designs and focused on a strong, graphic-led approach combined with more editorial-focused photography.


One of our specialisms is the ability to reinterpret the text provided to us by the client and highlight key content by creating bespoke infographics. The annual report team had never used infographics before working with Blackwood but they were open to any new ideas that would bring their content to life and make their approach more innovative. Our work for the Bank continues to position these graphics at the core of the reporting narrative.


The Bank went through a significant rebrand in 2018. Our design for this year’s annual report was the first interpretation of the new brand for a flagship report of this size and prominence. We worked closely with the Bank’s Economic Research and Statitistics Division and the Communications and External Relations Department to make sure the design energised the new brand but also fully supported this year’s theme  ‘Transformation in a fast-changing world: A road to Sustainable Development Goals’.

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

We also designed a 16-page digest capturing the main themes from the full report. This smaller  publication was easy to distribute during the Annual Meeting and has proved to be a valuable promotional tool.


The fact that we have produced the IsDB’s annual reports for the last five years demonstrates that their team trusts us with this important publication. We continually strike 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 IsDB’s Reverse Linkage team and the AFAB initiative.