The 2016 annual report of Berlin’s main public transport company, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe is a testament to the statement ‘branding is everything’.
At first, the reader may notice an interesting coloured pattern, which in fact is the upholstery print commonly seen on all BVG transportation. The bright yellow that is seen inside the report intentionally matches the branding too; all BVG vehicles are this bold colour on the exterior.
Lifestyle photography by Verena Brandt is the main highlight of this report, accentuating the branding by giving the reader a sneak peek into Berlin’s street culture. The photographs are both creative and candid, evoking a sense of informality and playfulness.
A special feature embedded on the cover is a pair of glasses, a moustache and a bowtie that can be removed and used – photo booth style.
An introductory photo of the heads of the company reflects the vibrant character of the company – not to mention the simple joy the company seems to gain by offering its services.
Typography is big and bold, on par with the colours, while the writing style is different from the usual annual report, drawing the reader to the written word as much as to the photography. In contrast, a subtle feature of the section separator pages is the use of the signage of a train route in order to note what areas a particular section will cover.
Readers are also able to see how the now infamous BVG print has infiltrated even the fashion industry. Pages 36-37 include a foldout page with an audacious but at the same time humourous presentation of the iconic print.
One entire section is devoted to BVG’s employees, demonstrating the company’s care for their workers through a wonderful combination of stories and images. On page 34, they even mourn the death of one of their workers.
A focus on the future and developments in transport technology keep the reader engaged. The slogan ‘Because we love you’ or #weilwirdichlieben celebrates the ethos of the company and is quite endearing. That love is displayed as little hearts throughout the report, including a heart-shaped QR code leading to the online report.
Branding really is everything, isn’t it?