Meet the 2020 Research Team: Design

Works Design’s 2020 Sustainability Reporting Trends team of designers: Don Laurie (top left), Kevin Ward (top right), Nelson Silva (bottom left) and Chie Momota (bottom right)
Sep 21, 2020 Madi Lantz, Kate Heron Interviews, Trendspotting

To introduce the 2020 edition of Works Design’s Sustainability Reporting Trends, we asked our research team what surprised them the most about this year’s trends. Here is what our design team had to say:

Kevin Ward, Art Director

Kevin Ward
What is your role on this year’s trends research project?

I was responsible for design research on a select number of reports.

What has been your favourite sector to work on and why?

My favourite sector was Consumer Goods! There were many reports in this sample that caught my eye, including CHR Hansen (a new company to our 2020 sample) and Danone. CHR Hansen’s traditional print report utilized an open and fresh design approach – allowing the content to breathe made it easy to read. Photography was of excellent quality in this report. Danone was another company with a strong report that was made very visually stimulating through the use of colourful graphics and photography.

What shifts have you seen in sustainability reporting due to COVID-19?

Many of the reports I reviewed were released prior to COVID-19, so no noticeable shifts seen on my end.

What was your favourite report design from this year’s sample?

I really like the 2019 Heineken integrated report. Great design. Great storytelling with numerous case studies. Great 3D-style graphics. Highly engaging and well organized.

What are three things that you need in your at-home workspace while auditing the sample of companies?
  1. When I do these audits, I try to remain focused, so I often will plug in the headphones with chill music.
  2. Nothing like a soothing cup of chilled coffee with almond milk and honey.
  3. I need to take regular exercise breaks to retain objectivity and mental acuity.

Don Laurie, Art Director

Don Laurie
What is your role on this year’s trends research project?

Art Director

What has been your favourite sector to work on and why?

Financial. The banks always seem to disclose quite a lot of information and have a good budget to produce a quality report. The Bank of Montreal 2019 Sustainability Report and Public Accountability Statement used strong data visualization throughout their report to help the audience understand some really high level information.

What shifts have you seen in sustainability reporting due to COVID-19?

I didn’t notice a lot of shifts from a design perspective. Some companies had one page dedicated to COVID-19 on their websites.

What was your favourite report design from this year’s sample?

Westpac Group’s 2019 Sustainability Performance Report was exceptional from a design perspective. The report incorporated simple icons to support the content. It was very well typeset, there was great use of photography, and it was incredibly on brand.

What are three things that you need in your at-home workspace while auditing the sample of companies?

Laptop. Fast Wi-Fi. Good coffee.  

Chie Momota, Designer

Chie Momota
What is your role on this year’s trends research project?

My role is to audit reports from a design perspective, assess how the report is illustrated, and conclude whether their graphics and storytelling are effective.

What has been your favourite sector to work on and why?

Can I pick two sectors? I enjoyed auditing the Transportation and Consumer Goods sectors. I saw good infographics and videos in the Transportation sector, and interesting interactive maps in the Consumer Goods sector. I also think some of the PDF reports in the Consumer Goods sector connect with their online reports really well. I think it is a smart way to use PDFs as summaries, when more information can be found in their online reports.

What shifts have you seen in sustainability reporting due to COVID-19?

My observation is solely from a design perspective; I’ve seen many companies have “Calls to Action” (CTAs) throughout the report that drive users to an information page, or the latest COVID-19 news pages – typically in the first view of their online reports. Other companies put these CTAs in a small banner that is persistent at the top of every page until it is dismissed. Some companies have overlaid the entire landing page of their online report with COVID-19 information.

What was your favourite report design from this year’s sample?

I really like the GTAA online report. It is a beautiful and unique online report with lots of images and many interactive functions. I also liked the PDF version of Maersk’s report, which has excellent infographics. It is understandable and easy to follow.

What are three things that you need in your at-home workspace while auditing the sample of companies?

Coffee, relaxing music, and fresh eyes.

Nelson Silva, Creative Director

Nelson Silva
What is your role on this year’s trends research project?

My role was simple: determine the team, provide the necessary time, tools and support they needed to conduct the research, as well as review the research criteria and selected samples to present in this year’s Trends Presentation.

What has been your favourite sector to work on and why?

N/A

What shifts have you seen in sustainability reporting due to COVID-19?

I researched only a handful of companies this year so I can’t comment on any shifts.

What was your favourite design from this year’s sample?

I stepped into research for the Utilities section and really enjoyed Ørsted’s report and the illustration style they leveraged throughout their report and brand. Interestingly, it was great to see a variety of illustration used throughout the sector research this year.

What are three things that you need in your at-home workspace while auditing the sample of companies.

A quiet space. Coffee, coffee and snacks. A good view or something nearby to focus on to rest my eyes.  

Works Design has been tracking key trends in corporate reporting and communications for over two decades. Our insights have helped shape the look, feel, functionality and content of leading corporate reports. The 2020 edition of our Sustainability Reporting Trends and Best Practices launches in September.

Be sure to sign up for our In Scope Digest Newsletter to receive your copy.    

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Madi Lantz
Madi Lantz
Madi Lantz

Madi has worked as the Marketing Coordinator at The Works since 2018. She recently graduated from the Bachelor of Commerce program in Marketing Management at Dalhousie University. She lives by the 3 S’s – Social Media, Starbucks & Shoes

Kate Heron is the Marketing Manager at The Works Design Communications.
Kate Heron
Kate Heron is the Marketing Manager at The Works Design Communications.

Kate is our Marketing Manager and has a knack for research, writing and Google Analytics. She is an ardent surfer, a New England Patriots fan and fosters Future Guide Dogs for the Lions Foundation of Canada. Find her on Twitter at @KateHeronWorks.

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