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AO North America

Annual Report Design:
A Client’s challenge

AO North America (AONA) advances the care of people and animals suffering from musculoskeletal injuries and conditions that arise as a consequence of those injuries. A nonprofit organization, AONA improves patient care through physician education and research in the principles, practice and results of treatment in five specialties: orthopedic trauma, craniomaxillofacial, spine, neurosurgery and veterinary orthopedic surgery.

While well known among surgeons, fellows and residents, AONA wants to increase brand awareness across the wider medical community and the public. To that end, the organization has begun a marketing and public relations campaign. A key component was to develop and distribute AONA’s first-ever annual report.

Leaders wanted the content to clearly communicate the organization’s 2015 activities and achievements as evidence that AONA is working to achieve its vision and live its mission.

Leaders wanted the design to break the mold of previous AONA collateral, which felt somewhat cold and sterile, as standard medical collateral tends to be. The challenge was to create a annual report design with a look and feel both warm and unique.

Our Solution

Hollister Creative was selected through an RFQ to assist AONA with theme development, writing and editing, and to design the annual report. The theme that emerged was “Coming Together,” because AONA advances care through collaboration.

Surgeons come together to serve on the education, research and community development committees that guide the activities of each clinical division. And once a year, the One AO scientific congress brings together the entire AONA community to explore common problems and solutions across disciplines

Hollister’s designer came up with a unique concept to illustrate the Coming Together theme through photos of bird murmuration, a natural phenomenon in which thousands of starlings fly in mesmerizing formations. AONA agreed that murmuration was an apt metaphor for the organization’s many parts and individuals coming together to form a greater whole that is fluid, flexible and dynamically moving forward.

The choice of nature photos also conveyed warmth in a way that photos of surgeons in operating rooms just can’t. All of the other design choices that were made supported and strengthened the dual goals of warm and unique.

Client Comment

Hollister Creative did an excellent job listening to our organization’s needs and working with surgeons, leadership and staff to conceptualize and deliver an incredible design for our Annual Report. The Hollister team was very professional and easy to work with for all aspects of the project. They paid close attention to detail and effectively helped to coordinate all voices and feedback into a high-quality, cohesive story. We are getting rave reviews with the finished piece!
— Melissa J. D’Archangelo
Director, Marketing, Communications and Extramural Programs, AO North America

Three Quick Tips

If you are challenged to create a feeling of warmth in an annual report design or other printed piece, here are three suggestions to help you:

  1. Use photos of living things. People are naturally drawn to Earth’s flora and fauna. The incredible variety of species, each with a different appearance and set of behaviors, gives designers a world of options for creating visual metaphors.
  2. Choose a warm color palette. If the client organization’s identity colors are cool, use them sparingly for headlines or accents. Select a warm color palette that complements the identity colors to spread warmth across the pages.
  3. Take “look and feel” literally. Paper and coating choices are important. To support the warm look of your design, reject the harsh glare of glossy paper and choose silk instead. Add a “soft touch” coating to the cover for the perfect finishing touch.