Making positive global change happen

Infographics, Publication design

In spring 2018, the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) engaged Soapbox to redesign their annual report from the ground up. 

The front cover of the report.

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is driven by a single mission – to build a fairer, more sustainable world. Through using evidence, action and influence in partnership with others, it makes a tangible positive difference in policies and practice.  

A selection of inside pages from the report, showing typographic and photographic details and the range of layouts used.

Soapbox’s brief was to create a report that builds upon IIED’s existing brand guidelines in a contemporary way, while being a significant departure from annual reports of previous years.

"CONFRONTING THE ECOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL EMERGENCY" in bold, green type on black background.

We set out to reshape the report. Reader experience was key; working closely with the IIED team, we began by exploring approaches that would guide users through the content in a coherent way. We opted for an editorial approach that was orientated around IIED’s five pathways – or challenges – for the year.

An inside page spread showing a photograph and columns of text.

With compelling photography at our disposal, we wanted to let it shine. We reworked the layout to open up the pages and let the content breathe. Striking photographs are used to set a bold tone, whilst snippets of headline data and quotes sit alongside longer-form text to create variety. 

A photograph of three men surrounded by smoke with accompanying bold standout text.
An inside page spread showing a photograph and columns of text.
An inside page spread showing quote-style text from named authors.

We worked within the existing brand guidelines but pushed them into a different territory. The new approach reduces the reliance on icons and instead uses on text signposting and simple data visualisations to help tell the story. A restrictive but contrasting colour palette helps bring data and other information to life, whilst also creating a more serious and grown-up feel. 

An inside page spread showing a range of text and standout boxed text.
An inside page spread showing photographs and columns of text.

The redesign is deliberately tactile. We structured the report into two booklets that combine as one, allowing the core of IIED’s work to shine from the centre. The smaller ‘wrap-around’ booklet on the outside serves as an introduction to the main annual report and highlights IIED’s mission. This format, coupled with the use of a recycled uncoated paper, invites the reader to leaf through the pages and explore the content within. 

The report's open cover flap, showing a map and accompanying text.

Following our work on the annual report, we went on to partner with IIED on the design of their new five-year strategy document and a supporting wall mural. The bold and striking new strategy revolves around the slogan ‘Make Change Happen’; a change we are proud to have played a small part in.

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