GBH Annual Report 2020: Doors Wide Open

GBH’s Annual Report for 2020 was titled Doors Wide Open. It was GBH’s first digital-only report and with the entire budget going into this effort for the first time we were able to recreate our entire annual report experience. I worked even more closely with our Digital department than ever before and was responsible for establishing the concept and visual design based on our theme.

The annual report process at GBH always begins with the editorial team coming up with a theme which the lead designer would then create a visual concept around. We would then present the visual concept to our executive team who would need to approve it before the bulk of the work began. A big challenge this year was having to conceptualize two ideas. Ultimately the concept for Doors Wide Open was chosen. For this concept, we wanted it to be bright, inviting, abstract, and revelatory. I was inspired by different items that had the ability to open — doors, swinging panels, interactive books, camera shutters, etc. I eventually landed on an abstracted and simplified form of a camera shutter opening. After approval, we had to ensure that this idea would work as the opening experience of the digital report. I collaborated with my colleagues in Digital and we settled for a quadrant representing each of our content pillars. Each corner would flip and reveal another image on hover and hint at a message underneath. As you begin to scroll the quadrant would open from the center and reveal the report’s title.

As part of the opening sequence, I designed the visual elements, or flair as we called it, that continued throughout the website. I also developed the color palette, chose the typefaces, and worked with the editorial team to choose the final photographs. I also collaborated with the senior digital designer on researching design patterns we wanted to utilize, final layout decisions, and many discussions with our developer to make sure our ideas were executable. We also met with our internal accessibility team, the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) along the way to ensure the final report was 508 Compliant. Overall, the project was the beginning of a whole new way of presenting our annual report to our audience. We were finally able to put all of our energy into this one version and include all of the interactivity and video content that we were always unable to feature in the past.

You can view the digital annual report here. Designed at GBH.