I had been a part of the design and creative direction for the annual Community Impact Report since 2020. Each year, the cover spotlights Buckeye’s efforts to serve the community, whether it is through their employees or members. In 2022, the client had pivoted in some design choices -  looking for something less graphic, more photo-based, and a bit cleaner. I began the design process by deeply evaluating previous years’ work with that direction in mind.
A Pinterest girl at heart, I found inspiration through other examples of clean, modern print design. It’s important to understand and keep the client in mind while looking for relevant inspiration; otherwise it’s easy to get lost in trends that are not logistically feasible, or appropriate for the brand.
Early drafts of the design were clean, but lacked the unique character that Buckeye’s typical collateral brought to its readers. How can we push the envelope, without overwhelming the page?
With this question in mind, I returned to the examples of previous reports from years past. Key to their success was the presence of a distinct design motif - a shape, graphic or photo style that added character and consistency to the report. I further explored inspiration with this in mind, looking at prominent shapes…
...and photo treatments.
Eventually landing on this cover page and design. While I thought that the cover was in the right spot, the client didn’t agree, maintaining that the face of the report needed to be one strong photo, rather than a collage.
I scanned our photo archives until landing on this image, of Buckeye employees volunteering at a local food bank. This image, like all past report covers, effectively spotlighted Buckeye’s efforts to serve the community, while simplifying the cover’s design and inspiring me to take another look at how we could freshen up the interior pages. After some initial tweaking of the photo to find the right setting for their employees, I tackled the rest of the design.