The First Annual Report on Instagram (Calgary Zoo, 2012)

Located in Alberta, Canada, the Calgary Zoo has been in operation for over a 100 years and in 2012, it published the world’s first annual report published on Instagram.

Designed by the zoo’s long-time design partner, Trigger Communications, the report consists of 55 photographs, where captions provide the text of the report. This is a lean, stripped down report with minimal flourishes. As an experiment in annual report design, it works well.

Given that Instagram offers limited text formatting, text blocks appear as sequential posts, thereby mimicking  paragraph breaks. Sensibly, text in all caps (one of the few formatting options available) is used sparingly.

The text per image is kept short in any case – a wise choice, considering the average Instagram user’s attention span. Excerpts of the financial information appear in two posts and while these are formatted neatly, they may have been tricky to read on a phone from 2012. Full financial reporting was provided (at the time) on the zoo’s website, and could also be requested by phone.

The photographs that comprise the report are suitably amateurish, charming, and enthusiastic and they all carry a filter that will be familiar to any Instagram user. The effect is an annual report that fits seamlessly into the early days of Instagram, c.2010 and capitalises on the launch of its first Android app in 2012.

This is a clever, cost-conscious approach to annual report design, and it speaks to the power of long-term relationships between client and design studio.

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