A lesson in simplicity

The California Water Service Group’s Annual Report of 2008 is well written and has a simple, effective design. The cover shows a splash of water in midair against a black background, accompanied by the company’s mission, subtly brought out by the cover text.

Thematically, water is skillfully woven into the infographics in a similar manner to the cover, using textured paper stock, providing a tactile experience.

The history of the company is described textually and visually over a series of double-page spreads, accompanied by a double-sided, extendable flap.

Every year is described within a seven-year range at the bottom of each page.

It is interesting to note that the great depression (1933-40) is not covered in the text although the it is referred to – in retrospect – under the years 1941-1948.

The report features a notable flash-forward to the present: one page carries a description of one aspect of the company’s operations –customer service, for instance. This is accompanied by a thematic image –a service man’s helmet or a coin– while the other pages carry photographs of technical aspects of operations and a short description, providing information about CWSG’s employees.

Overall, the report seems to successfully bring out its theme, providing a sense of class and timelessness to an element as familiar as water.

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