Annual Report Theme Captures the Essence of this Institution

Photography & Video, Corporate Reporting

Obata provides complete turnkey solution for First State Bancshares’ 2021 Annual Report


First State Bancshares


2021 Annual Report


  • Thematic Development
  • Customer Interviews
  • Copywriting
  • Annual Report Design
  • Infographics Design
  • Photography
  • Retouching
  • Print Supervision

OBATA provided concept development, copywriting, design, production and photography and more to develop the 2021 annual report for First State Bancshares (FSB). Developing an annual report that communicates the company values and culture along with key financial information requires consideration for every step – from concept to completion.

OBATA, an annual report design firm, has designed and developed hundreds of annual reports dating back to 1958. The best annual report design is rooted in an established, proven process. This process fully displayed itself in the 2021 annual report for First State Bancshares.

In fact, OBATA handled every step in the annual report creative process from theme development to concept development to final press checks.

The First State Bancshares annual report creative process included:

Thematic development that sets the report’s tone

Theme development consists of identifying and visualizing the essence and culture of the company — what they stand for, who they serve, and how they differentiate itself.

For First State Bancshares, the focus is and always has been on the communities they serve. With that in mind, OBATA developed several concepts that centered around the notion of community and landed on the theme of “Thinking Local. Making a World of Difference.”

This theme set the foundation for the annual report development and conveyed how First State Bancshares positively impacts clients and their customers through the variety of services they provide at the local level.


“With Obata’s ability to truly understand our commitment to the people we serve, it translated into an exceptionally well concepted and designed report. The photography and storytelling really captured the heart of what it means to be a community bank”.

FSB Vice President and Marketing Officer

Design that brings the theme to life

Next, Obata developed design concepts. This step takes the theme and brings it to life visually with design options that included a cover as well as several inside pages, or spreads, that provide a “look and feel” for the annual report.

OBATA presented several design concepts. The selected design showcased the theme set on a stylized map of Missouri that highlighted a majority of the 41 individual communities that are served by First State Bancshares and its First State Community Bank locations.

Storytelling through customer perspectives

Next, Obata put the stories of these communities into words. FSB identified customers to be interviewed. The customers included the owners of four different family-owned businesses in Missouri towns including Potosi, Cape Girardeau, Pacific, and Sikeston. After interviewing, Obata put its annual report copywriting services to work.

The copy told how these businesses got their start and how they grew and overcame challenges with the help of First State Community Bank. More importantly, they share how these businesses are making a difference for the people living in the communities they call home.

Original photography captures the authentic spirit and passion of each business

Not only does a picture say a thousand words, but it can also capture the heart and soul of the subject in ways that words cannot express. OBATA leveraged its decades of experience in annual report photography and went on the road to photograph these owners in their places of business.

OBATA’s photographer went to multiple customer locations served by First State Community Bank – the retail business of FSB. At each location, our photographer scouted and captured unique images to capture the essence of each business and owner.

The resulting business owner portraits and detail images depict the spirit and passion behind each business and the people who make it run.

Photography shot for the annual report.

Design development and visualize data

Once we had the theme, design direction, copy, and photography, Obata began the design and production for the entire annual report. Annual report design is unique in that while you are telling stories that share the culture or news at a company, you also have to incorporate key financial data.

The flow of the document conveys critical pieces of information on the first page while setting the tone with a series of images building up to the individual business stories. OBATA wove the annual report theme throughout the narrative and financial highlights. We visualized performance through a series of charts that leveraged the map design element from the cover. These infographics played a large role in communicating key facts and figures of the year’s financial performance.

One of the best ways to highlight financial performance is through data visualization. Infographics developed for the report were used as a tool to draw attention to FSB’s most important information. Learn more about infographics by OBATA.

Following the business features is the letter to the shareholders and a series of financial highlight pages. Finally, each branch with its officers is listed before the transition to the financial statements.

Printing preparation and press checks ensure color fidelity

Print is still relevant. Good annual report design can lose its effectiveness if its execution is flawed.

Once the typeset annual report was approved, OBATA prepared the document for printing. Our in-house GRACOL-certified pre-press proofing system streamlined the proofing process. We then visited the printer for a press check to review press sheets. We oversaw necessary color corrections before approving the print run.

The Result

The First State Bancshares 2021 annual report not only reflects the financial health and progress of the corporation, but it captures the heart and soul of what makes First State Bancshares so unique — a focus on Thinking Local while Making a World of Difference.