Bard Prison Initiative: Annual Report



BPI’s annual report has become a key component of the work we do to communicate with BPI’s donor community. Each year, through frequent collaborative sessions with BPI staff, we determine how to best present the impact of BPI’s work on prison and education policy and the lives of the individuals who participate in and graduate from their programs.

The Inaugural Report

animated GIF of several 2021 Annual Report spreads

Designing the award-winning inaugural Annual Report (2021) meant figuring out how to tell the story of BPI — not just from the past year, but really of all their work to date — in a concise, engaging way.

Before we began design drafts, we discussed process, planned schedules, and mapped out what the content could be, honing in on themes that could influence the design and guide the content-planning. What was revealed was a concept: “The Future Is Now.” That concept was expressed as a visual theme throughout the 56-page report with a series of forward-leaning container blocks and graphics/language that illustrate current impact and how that impact continues to expand.

As part of the BPI brand, we established a system called By the Numbers for displaying data. In the annual report, we build upon this system in various ways to curate the narrative and to give meaning to the data through radiating pulses and forward-leaning blocks.

Colorful interior spread of the inaugural BPI annual report.

Something New Each Year

Each year now, we partner with BPI to discuss the year’s challenges and successes; the staff, alumni, and partners who’ve achieved major accomplishments; the numbers that demonstrate significant strides in BPI’s impact — to culminate in a well-paced report.

For 2022’s report, we landed on the title “Making It Count,” expressing how BPI has fulfilled core public policy goals and what the next steps are to extend the impact of those achievements. We also took the opportunity to highlight the individuals who help BPI make their achievements and investments count through in-depth profiles recounting their personal stories and work, and commissioned stunning portraits by photographer Beowulf Sheehan.

Slideshow of several spreads from the BPI 2022 Annual Report.

For the 2023 report, with the title of “College for a Better World,” we explored the ways BPI has reimagined education and expanded its efforts far beyond its foundational college-in-prison program, ahead of its 25th anniversary year. Employing colorful graphics, stand-out quotes, and handwritten type/markings throughout, we aimed to add a personal, grounded, and playful feel while presenting work that is only getting larger in scope.

Slide show of several select pages in the annual report 2023.