Many North Carolina state agencies publish annual reports that review the year’s accomplishments or present important data. With reduced printing budgets, how can state agencies continue publishing these reports? Here are some suggestions, derived from discussions with state agencies:
First, consider a digital-only annual report, unless legally required to produce a printed version. Printing and mailing costs are eliminated, while a colorful layout and lengthy content can be retained. Many state agencies already opt for digital-only unless legally required to print.
A digital-only annual report can be emailed or posted on an agency’s website with a blurb on the homepage announcing its “publication”. Many state agencies report that their stakeholders prefer to read the reports online. However, some readers may still print copies for themselves, or an agency may need to print a few on-the-fly. In anticipation, design the digital-only annual report so that it can be printed easily on an office printer.
Second, consider finding a sponsor to pay for a printed annual report. For example, the printing of the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation’s annual report is funded by the Friends of State Parks.
Third , when a printed version is necessary, an economic version should be designed with only, for example, legally required information, a brief introduction, and a few graphics. The annual report could also be designed so that content could be reused. For example, if an annual report contains important study results, design the report so that those pages could be reprinted as handouts that can be shared at an event.
When state agencies print their annual reports, they should always send 10 copies to the North Carolina State Publications Clearinghouse. The digital version should be emailed to the Clearinghouse at firstname.lastname@example.org.