You’d think that asking what the difference is between a Brochure and an Annual Report was a simple question, or you may even think they’re the same thing. Well, they do overlap in style but when it comes to design and content there are a few key differences to take into consideration when embarking on a new document.

1. Content [different]

A Brochure is for selling something, or for making an offer look appealing. Often also known as a Marketing Brochure or Sales brochure. They are delivered to a variety of consumers and other interested parties and are usually quite picture heavy. It may have financial figures by way of a price list or to help prove why you’d want to buy something.

An Annual Report is for shareholders, or people directly related to an individual company. As well as financial figures, they will sometimes have stories reporting on company successes of staff or the business in general. They are often more copy-heavy, rather than picture led.

2. Frequency [different]

The clue is in the title. An Annual Report comes out once a year. A Brochure has a longer ‘shelf-life’ than a magazine for example, but would usually only be updated at the most, every 6 months. The key difference is that a brochure may have lots of different versions throughout the year using a similar template. This would be to promote or sell different aspects of a business.

Essex Brochures four covers
Brochures may come in a set, whereas an Annual Report is a single product
3. Paper and format [same]

Both a Brochure and an Annual Report usually have printed versions. Print brings gravitas to any project – something that is lost in the busy world of digital. An added advantage of a print version is that it sits on a desk or in a lobby in full view of passing potential trade.

Both would usually opt for using premium paper to promote brand quality. They can be any size you choose.

They are stapled folded documents with more than four pages (an annual report would be a lot more). Whereas a leaflet, for example, is usually a single sheet of paper that also has the option to be folded in lots of inventive ways.

4. Digital version [same]

Some organisations will think digital first and do away with a print version altogether. They would usually choose to upload a digital version so that a wider audience can have access to it, and to save money on distribution costs of a physical product. It is important to ensure that the PDF version is formatted in the best way for online. A4 landscape works particularly well.

You could also consider a WordPress version of your Brochure or Annual Report, which will give more versatility to provide interactivity by way of video for example. A dedicated WordPress version will work well on any screen size.

Report Cover
A digital first document would benefit from landscape orientation

5. Visual Style [same]

In theory, there’s no reason why the visual style for each can’t be very similar. Both need to ensure that typography and colour are on brand. You can increase or decrease editorial input, bespoke photography etc. in either product, depending on your target readership.

6. Graphical elements [same]

Employing the use of charts and diagrams, illustrations and memorable infographics is a key addition to many Annual Reports and Brochures.

Data Visualisation
Infographics help explain your content

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