Background

The British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG) are the representative body for higher education finance staff throughout the United Kingdom.

BUFDG members consist of the Directors of Finance and Chief Financial Officers of the majority of UK higher education institutions.

As an organisation they aim to: 

  • Inform, advise and give support to their members.
  • Become the main source of information, comment, and support on finance matters in order to promote best practice across the HE finance sector.
  • Provide opportunities for networking, discussion, consultation and exchange, giving opportunities for their members to learn and develop.
  • Collaborate with their members and related organisations both within the regions and nationally, in order to influence policy and advocate for their membership.

Brief

We have been creating the annual report for BUFDG for a number of years, so we have a good understanding of their organisation and members and have been responsible for shaping their visual communications over this time. Creating their annual report usually gives us an opportunity to try new design ideas, along with the theme of each year's national conference or a particular project they wish to highlight. In previous years we have used illustration to help communicate the main areas of focus within the report in line with key themes directed from the client.This year was slightly different as we had been involved in several other design projects with them which illustration has featured extensively. Having created a set of illustrations for their publication ‘Understanding University Finance’, BUFDG were keen to incorporate this visual style. It was still important to apply differentiation between the previous publication and the report, which was achieved in the typography and use of colour palettes.

Process

Having worked with BUFDG in delivering a number of design projects over the years, we have a robust process that we work to, which helps us to efficiently deliver on the projects we work with together. 

Our prior experience of similar projects means we have a good idea of the type of content that is likely to be included in the BUFDG annual report, which enables us to develop the styles of the page layouts with a good degree of consideration, knowing that the final content will be relatively close. 

This year we incorporated a more punchy, vibrant colour palette which we felt worked well with the very stylised and minimalistic illustrations. Where we included text on the bold background blocks it was important that the text colours were accessible for reading easily, where contrast is concerned, with all colour combinations of text and backgrounds tested as such. We were able to reassure our client that the final document meets accessibility standards, especially important for visually impaired readers.

Final solution

BUFDG were delighted with their bright, modern annual report. Clear, clean line drawn elements work to add points of interest and strong block colour elements help to create hierarchy on the page. Throughout we have varied the typography only slightly from previous years, allowing for a strong visual link to previous projects whilst keeping it fresh and new. 

In addition to the printed report we created an online interactive PDF available as a download to BUFDG members.