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Is the Annual Report Dead? Hardly.

[UPDATE: Once again, our Cognex annual has won a gold award at the League of American Communications Professionals (LACP) Awards for its category, as well as #75 of the top 100 Annual Reports Worldwide and a silver award for Most Creative in the Americas.  The annual also won the gold at the MerComm International ARC Awards for its category as well as taking honors for photography!]

Like everything else, annual reports have changed a lot in the last 10 years.  Mostly, they’ve disappeared.  With the advent of the web, Twitter, etc., a polished State-Of-The-Company address doesn’t have much immediacy.  But that’s not to say that a company can’t brand itself and stand out using the annual report medium.

Cognex Corporation, the world’s leading supplier of machine vision systems, has gone further than most companies to define it’s corporate style using annual reports (as well as stretching the definition of what an annual looks like).  Their reports are zany, irreverent, and reflect the spirit of their founder and CEO, the inimitable Dr. Bob.  I’ve been shooting these reports for over a dozen years, and they’ve taken the shape of a Bruce Springsteen record album (a circular annual), the National Enquirer (Dr. Bob gives birth to machine vision, literally) , and a Martha Stuart Living Magazine (Dr. Bob, in a blond wig, shot in his stylish home in San Diego).

This year, we spoofed “Back To The Future” (I might add here that Dr. Bob’s innovation in the industry is dwarfed by his ability to persuade these franchises to let Cognex run these parodies — or at least not sue him).  The BTTF annual is designed as a poster (I believe it’s the first annual ever to take this format), and the silver below is the uncommon use of metallized paper.

Spoof of "Back to the Future" with the Chairman and CEO playing Marty and Doc.

The poster features Dr. Bob and CFO Rob Willett trying their hand at time travel.  Also featured is a video we shot for the Forward Looking Statement:[vimeo width=”800″ height=”450″][/vimeo]

The corporate world of CEOs and investor relations usually shuns risk taking.  But these guys have no fear.  They’re rock stars.  It’s a great way to live… and a fun way to shoot.

A little behind-the-scenes information on annual report photography and the making of the 2015 "Back to the Future" parody annual report photographed by David Shopper of Boston MA.