Social accounting has become part of the ethos at the NeuroMuscular Centre (NMC). It is not an add on, or something that we produce to keep up appearances, it is a valuable tool to help us gather, record and share the real, measurable impact that we have upon our community.
We are constantly asking ourselves; what do we do well, what can we do better and are we truly making a difference? The production of our Social Accounts helps us focus on these important questions and in the process, gives a voice to our community. The activity of declaring our social aims, and then building a body of evidence to show how we are meeting these allows us to delve into the thoughts and feelings of our service users, celebrate the achievements, and develop strategies to take us forward in the coming years.
We aim to depict the journey of the NMC throughout the course of a year, but also highlight individual stories and achievements. These personal reflections help to paint a picture of the impact we have at every level of the NMC, but it also helps to focus and motivate our staff. We really do make people’s lives better and nothing makes us more committed to our cause!
Our design team are integral to the crafting of our social accounts document. Using infographics, icons, images and graphs they emphasise the most important information to help the casual viewer get the nitty gritty of the information that we really want to share. They take us on a visual journey, crafting a path through the course of a year, stopping at important highlights and entwining a crowd of supporting voices.
The bright, bold and modern style created for 2017-2018, employs photographs with graphic overlays to give context and visual interest to stats, facts and figures.
Though the content (and its clarity and measurability) are key, a good design lifts the document to a new level. It boosts the impact of our report, makes the information more accessible and easily digestible and, perhaps most significantly, draws people in and makes them want to read it.
What advice would our design team give to you?
- Set a style and carry this throughout the whole document. This will make the design cohesive and impactful. You can change the style each year to keep things fresh.
- Tie elements back into your branding and logo – reference colours, styles, shapes and fonts so that people recognise the document as being linked to your organisation as soon as they see it.
- Keep fonts for body text simple and easy to read. You can add visual impact by using more interesting and colourful headings. Interesting subheadings can help to separate out big blocks of text and make text-heavy pages more aesthetically appealing.
- Don’t be afraid of white space! A busy page can be overwhelming and distracting. We want people to focus on the most important information so don’t hide it.
- Use infographics and graphs to draw attention to stats, facts and figures. These can be dense and inaccessible when provided as a list of solid text.
- Use images to help people connect to yourself, your staff and your organisation.
- Don’t be afraid to explore! We never employ the first idea that comes to us. We spend time crafting a style through research, experimentation and discussion before we start to compile the full document.
We wish you the best of luck designing your own accounts document, but if you do need some help then please give us a call.