A Closer Look: Producing Annual Reports, Both Digitally and in Print

By Chelsea

Global temperatures are rising at an unprecedented rate because of increasing carbon emissions.

In the U.S, electricity production generates the second largest share of greenhouse gas emissions, at roughly 28%. While we can’t reverse the effects of climate change entirely, we can work to slow it by investing in renewable energy.

That’s where the Energy Trust of Oregon comes in– Energy Trust is a customer focused non-profit dedicated to helping over 1 million residents and businesses in Oregon and Southwest Washington save energy and generate renewable power through comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

ThinkShout has loved developing a close partnership with Energy Trust over the last couple of years. Our work with Energy Trust has been driven by this question: how do you make the invisible, visible? How do you make energy– something unseen, yet always present– tangible and interesting in a digital landscape?

We have seen time and again that while you can’t feel energy in the palm of your hand, the stories that come from the people, communities, and businesses whose lives and livelihoods are impacted by energy, are where the magic is. And so we really wanted to build a foundation that was grounded in a human-centered approach; something that communicated not only what Energy Trust does, but what Energy Trust can do for you.

In order to weave this human-centered approach into the annual report in an effective way, Energy Trust needed to communicate their organizational impact while simultaneously connecting to readers emotionally. We knew that jargon, statistics, and technical language wasn’t the path forward– especially if you aren’t someone with know-how in the sustainable energy sector. Instead, we focused on pairing accessible, relatable, and compelling copy with person-focused visuals and graphics that could build a connection and be understood by anyone- not just industry experts. This pairing would translate across mediums, from digital to print, with a motif based on improvement (what changed in people’s everyday lives) and relatability (building a connection based on identity and sector; homeowners, grocery workers, manufacturers, etc.).

Screen shot of the annual report in print, grid of squares on a page with people's faces alternating with text calling out what energy trust does.

First page of the annual report.

Here are 3 places where human-centered strategy showed up in this work.

1. Energy Call-Outs

One of our favorite innovations was creating “energy call-outs” — squares that identify energy saving sources and bring visibility to the technology that is otherwise so easy to miss if you were just looking at a photograph. These were designed to feel like an energy grid or blueprint, to reinforce the Energy Trust brand behind the work.

4 sqaures that capture the energy square call outs. One is a roof, one is an air conditioning unit, one is a and two are solar grids

Energy square call-outs.

2. An Infographic Based on Social Math

We created a colorful infographic that displayed the variety of ways Energy Trust’s work showed up in local, Oregon communities, filled with copy to inform the work they’ve done throughout the state. We leveraged the concept of “social math” to make sure the copy was relatable and easy to understand. For example, rather than saying “Energy Trust helps to save and generate 914 average megawatts of electricity since 2002” we say, “Energy Trust’s work is saving and generating enough electricity to power half of all homes in Oregon.”

Colorful infographic that was drawn on illustrator. The drawing is of Oregon, with farmland, industrial centers, and coastal areas. Text boxes are overlayed on it that call out how much energy Energy Trust has saved people from all of these varying parts of Oregon.

Infographic that was featured in both digital and print.

3. Highlight Reels

A highlight section focuses on the success stories within this work. In centers pictures of Energy Trust clients and is filled with intentional language that builds personal connection. When viewing this online, you can click to read a personal story about how people’s lives were affected. In print, this translates to short, magazine-esque stories.

Box that has a success story shown in it. There is an image of the person in from of their buliding, with text underneath that has the story.

These stories take a closer look at the different success stories from Energy Trust.

“ThinkShout’s project management, attention to detail and strategic thinking have not only helped us reach more customers in a meaningful way, but have also helped us streamline our internal web operations.” – Sloan Schang, Sr. Web Manager at Energy Trust

Interested to learn more about the processes behind the projects? Get in touch.