The new board of directors of tradition-steeped insurance company Merkur from Austria has opened a new chapter in the company history by implementing a corporate culture of partnership and collaboration of equal partners in 2014, giving the company a new style, or a “new handwriting” as a German phrase goes. The concept of the annual report takes the notion of a “new handwriting” literally: all 176 pages of the report were written by hand – letter by letter, figure by figure, table by table – by the company staff ranging from doorman to CEO and assistants. Even the photos were drawn by hand. Handwritten by those people who actually had contributed to the success story of the year 2014, the idea of handmade craftsmanship is taken up and continued in the tactile experience of the book, featuring an elaborate technique with an open spine, which was hand-sewn by the company’s local bookbinder. The discreet design adds only one single colour, the house colour green, for subtle highlights, in order to dedicate the stage to the newly incorporated sense of group identity, expressed in each single letter.
Statement by the Jury
This annual report is highly unusual and captivating, as it was written entirely by hand with each and every single employee contributing. The main message that the successful company story is based on people is conveyed in a vivid and visually vibrant manner. Thus, both the design concept and its implementation are highly convincing.