Sophie Harringtonby Sophie Harrington

By my count, between Regionals, Nationals and World Cups I’ve designed 23 Enactus annual reports as a student and now as an alumni – and I’ve loved (ok, tolerated…) every minute of it.

But for many teams, I know the report can be one of the most difficult pieces to come together as you wait for projects to get results, scripts to be written, and presentations to be designed. But two weeks out, it’s now time to dig in.


Get organized

First step is to delegate writing all the content to a team member. You’ll want to make sure it’s edited, proofed and approved by your team and faculty advisor before you even start to design it. This will save your designer from having to make a bajillion changes and ensures a smoother process from start to end (designers, I got your back).


Keep it short

Spend more time editing your content than writing it to make it as short and pithy as possible. Don’t blab on to sound fancy or over-explain things… no one wants to read the sequel to War and Peace.

  • Twitter test: Describe your project in 140 characters
  • Bring out key numbers
  • Use bullet points!
  • Put your thesaurus away – use everyday language

Get some flow

Have the order of your report content mirror your presentation and the judging criteria. Remember, the report should help make it easier to understand your projects, NOT harder. The last thing you want is a Judge flipping through your report mid-presentation trying to ‘find their place’ or confused as heck


If you need help, ask!

If you lack the technical expertise to design a report, put a call out to different faculties or student groups. You’re all basically computer geniuses these days, so this is an effective way to recruit some new creative minds. But if someone on your team is ready to tackle it there’s also great student discounts on Adobe InDesign (as well as tutorials!).


The report should support your presentation, not duplicate it

Have you ever watched a great TED talk or movie and said ‘man, I wish I had a written summary of what just happened’ – nope, because you’re engaged in the main act. Your report should be used to reinforce key points and not distract the reader too much.


Don’t reinvent the wheel.

Use sites like Shutterstock and CreativeMarket for cheap and high-quality graphics to get started or visit some free sites Vecteezy and If you can buy a great set of icons for $1, why spend two days designing them – go out there and save the world instead!


Follow basic design principles

Could a judge (who maybe forgot their glasses) read this in a dimly lit room? Is the contrast sufficient and the text size big enough? Play it safe and keep the report clean and minimal!

  • Don’t place text over complicated images
  • Don’t use elaborate fonts, keep it simple (FontSquirrel has a great selection, even Enactus fonts like Roboto!)
  • Use white space and don’t try and jam too much into the report!
  • When in doubt, simple is best! Don’t over-extend your skillset.

As you dive into your report, remember you have all done the hard part – ran an incredible set of projects that are driving Canada’s economy forward. So don’t let the report stress you out – use it  (and the tips above) to tell your story in a clear and effective manner as we continue to grow the Enactus network from coast to coast.


Sophie Harrington is a seriously, unserious Creative Director doing her best to make a difference with great advertising and volunteer work in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She is an alumni of Enactus Memorial and chair of their Advisory Board, a recipient of the Enactus Canada Alumni of the Year award and Enactus Canada’s official photographer and designer.