OU Annual Report

An annual report with an unmissable message.

The Open University doesn't do average. And when it came to their annual report their objectives were clear, targeted - and ambitious. The goal? To produce an annual report that would stand out against the sea of paper targeted at its audience and to communicate the idea that the OU was all about employability, for individuals, for business and for the UK as a whole.

We developed a ‘sense check’ for the publication as a whole: the dinner party test. When a reader – usually a politician or key influencer – was asked at a dinner, “So, what is the Open University doing?” success would result in them answering, “They are all about employability.”

We knew we had only a few minutes to communicate this to a reader who was likely to flick through the report – at best.

– Jenny Bond, Senior Communications Manager, The Open University

YBM provide a unique service in terms of their ideas and writing abilities.

To achieve this, we created two photo wells of images showing OU students and graduates at work. These images also appear on the back cover. Having observed people read the report, we know that they tend to stop at these two points and get the message: the OU is all about employability. Messaging throughout the report's three sections also put employability first: for example in the Impact on the Individual section, a story on how studying impacted three graduates also focuses on how they have gone on to impact on their own employers. Another story featuring hero academic Nathalie Starkey focuses on the importance of STEM and its role in employment for UK plc.

We recommended and sourced an uncoated paper for the cover with contrasting glossy inners to create visual impact. The result is an annual report with outstanding content, eye-catching design – and an unmissable message.