At AFPI, we specialize in design and print communications for highly regulated industries. Whether dealing with postal, compliance, or brand regulations, we’ve learned that regulations don’t need to be viewed as a negative limitation or a source of frustration. As Elizabeth Gooding, president of Gooding Communications Group writes for The Digital Nirvana, “boundaries don’t need to be the designer’s enemy. In fact, identifying [regulations] in advance can help to focus attention on the goals of the design and also provide a filter to the process of finding solutions…compliance departments and corporate council exist for a reason- they are the legal experts.” It’s important to have respect for legal regulations and corporate language– they are intended to inform and protect the customer.
Communications for highly regulated communications do not need to be heavy on jargon in order to be compliant. As we discuss in our blog post on writing a better annual report, the SEC advocates for the use of plain english– communicating complex information clearly using everyday words. Gooding reports that “Progressive companies combine ‘point-of-need’ messaging with plain language disclosures to minimize complex legal language and make sure that key information is places where it is most useful to the reader.”
Looking to simplify the language in your regulated documents? The SEC’s A Plain English Handbook is full of great advice– everything from the importance of short sentences to approaches to effective design (p.43). Lines, line spacing, typeface, and use of white space are all essential considerations when designing. The bottom line? Keep it clear, keep it short; use graphics and charts when possible to illustrate information; effectively integrate text with graphics; vary type weights.
AFPI is committed to quickly and reliably meeting the challenging demands of clients every day. From EDGAR filing, to XBRL tagging, to document management and retrieval, AFPI offers a complete range of innovative compliance solutions in order to make the design and print of regulated documents– including financial reports– simple and painless.