Title: Curiosity Comes in All Colours (Merck Annual Report 2017)

Merck specializes in healthcare, life science and electronics, and is based in Germany. Their 2017 annual report is in celebration of their 350th year in service, and opens with a solemn statement from the ‘Pharmacy Privilege’ issued by the ruling court to the company founder Friedrich Jacob Merck at the company’s inception.

The bright color palette of the cover and opening pages is the immediate attention grabber, and serves as an incentive to venture further into the report.

Mysterious, vibrant fluid shapes at the start of the report, and again in chapter separator pages later on, symbolize the scientific curiosity that the company stands for. These pulsating colours echo the ever-evolving scientific innovation that the company’s heart beats for. A unique, geeky typeface has been used for headlines within the report, to match the shapes.

What’s special about the opening of this report is the introduction of young scientists/entrepreneurs in the field. The bottom of each page pulls the reader to another supporting page which connects the thoughts and ideas of these individuals with the company’s vision for the future, revealed in supporting quotes from the management. The effect this creates on the reader is quite impactful. Also included is a QR code on page nine, which leads to online video interviews with each young person.

Page 16 and the following pages showcase some breathtaking cityscapes as well as a series of architectural photographs with captions, telling the company’s story through a timeline.

Partnered with these photos are illustrated headshots from page 19 onwards, of leaders within the company who share their thoughts on progress in specific areas.

The illustrations that follow from this point on are flat and minimalistic – the timeless kind – to match the electric hues of the rest of the report and keep the reader hooked.

A full bleed two-page photo titled “Welcome to Space” truly arouses curiosity, giving the reader a sense that Merck’s work has become universal.

It’s an effervescent journey – 350 years and counting…

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