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Aiming High to Lower Carbon

Kingspan has come a long way since its founding in 1965 in Co Cavan. Whilst retaining their heritage as a family business, they are now a global leader in high-performance insulation and building envelopes.

Over time, their Annual Report has changed to become a digital-first publication – but the printed document remains an essential communication tool. Our role is to ensure that both versions offer the same user experience and align visually. The critical consideration in the design is that the solution must work to the strengths of each medium: interactivity and motion for digital, paper stocks, finishes and layout for print.

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The challenge here was to visually represent an invisible gas (CO2) and its negative impact on the environment while, at the same time, conveying a positive sentiment about the innovative solutions brought forward by Kingspan. A grainy texture effect was used in the report to symbolise the invisible gas molecules, and a restrained colour palette of black and Kingspan blue hints at the tension between the problem (CO2) and the solution (Kingspan products). This tension is evident elsewhere through the dynamic interplay of photography and graphic textures, with images of Kingspan buildings layered over a textural representation of their carbon footprints.

Three feature stories introduce the report, focussing on what's happening in the industry, trade insights and how Kingspan are tackling what's needed to improve past, present and future builds. These stories stand out from the rest of the report by using metallic gold instead of Kingspan blue. This section connects in style and colour palette with the cover, featuring a detail of the roof of the Etihad Arena, the Middle East's largest state-of-the-art indoor entertainment venue, whose design was inspired by the woven mesh of the baskets by the Bedouin tribes. The project won the Sustainable Design of the Year award at the MENA Green Buildings Awards in 2018. Using a double cover inspired by the layering system of Kingspan products, the top layer – printed in gold – lifts to reveal the building in all its glory.

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Dynamic layouts run through the whole document linking the printed piece to the online version. The report retains its house-style font, Kingspan Brown – but we evolved the typographical system by introducing secondary supporting fonts to create an effective and versatile font system that would differentiate the look and feel from the previous year's report and enhance the editorial feel.

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