Visual design: Goldman Sachs’ 10K

When a corporate reputation is under scrutiny, could slick communication save the day? Goldman Sachs is hoping with their annual report design.

Goldman Sachs 2010 Annual ReportThe intended message
With all the accusations, Goldman’s messaging strategy is crucial. To sum it up: “We performed for our clients in 2010 and we’re hell-bent on continuing that. Also, we’re looking into where we might have gone wrong.”

To support this, the words harmonize with visuals: a steady dose of well-dressed people in well-dressed offices; global imagery exhibiting power; and some balanced touches of community outreach.

Their interactive version feels like it’s built for tablets, with spacious navigation and features designed to slide along a touch screen. If the medium is the message, then this is just one bit of proof that Goldman still cares about the details.

Is it working?
To put it crudely, Goldman’s visual message is one of stubbornness. They acknowledge a need for oversight and transparency with their words, but most of their content is geared to profit-driven clients and investors. They aim to be seen as unbreakable, unwavering, able to weather the storm without flinching. Concerns of the “general community” are addressed, but that isn’t their main point.

The question is, has it helped? The current media environment is none too flattering, so on the surface it doesn’t feel that way.

On the other hand, if you’re a client or investor, it could be comforting stuff.

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The Goldman Sachs 2010 Annual Report

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