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Annual Report Comes to Life in the Sun

By Annie George

Posted on 27 Jun 12 by Annie George

When I started out my career in marketing, the company I worked for produced millions of insurance
newsletters a year for insurance agencies throughout the country. Print was king back then…and through the years I was part of a team that created some beautiful pieces (brochures, direct mail, etc.) for a diverse clientele. But technology and print have merged to create something I think is pretty cool.

A company called Austria Solar recently won the 2012 Design Grand Prix for its annual report. Its design team, Serviceplan Munich, created an annual report for the solar-energy provider that came to life when UV rays hit the paper. The annual report was completely blank until you placed it in the sun. Then the report became visible when exposed to sunlight. It’s imprinted with photocromatic colors, which change from clear when indoors to color when outdoors. Touted as the “first annual report powered by the sun”, the piece wow’d the judges of the Design Grand Prix: First, it accurately reflected what the company is all about, it was pretty risk-taking of the Austria Solar to send out a blank annual report, and it was a totally new approach in the area of annual reports.

“I think the client deserves an award, as much as anybody else," said jury president Bruce Duckworth, principal at brand design agency Turner Duckworth. "When you pick it up it looks like nothing’s printed on it at all, you open it up in the sunlight, and the typography magically appears. We talk about a world of digital interaction and this is interaction in a really physical, traditional expression. It’s so appropriate for the company, it's done brilliantly and it doesn't feel like a gimmick at all. It really did represent everything we were looking for.”

Check out the video and think about how you can do unusual and amazing promotions – whether digitally or in print!


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