Design firm: Pivot Design, Chicago; art directors: Brock Haldeman, Liz Haldeman; designers: Jill Kristen Misawa, Don Emery; photographer: Tom Maday; client: Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
It’s pretty nervy to produce an annual report without identifying the organization on the cover. Or anywhere in the first ten pages. But that was the decision that Pivot Design made for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s 2005 report. The institute’s breakthrough work on a bionic prosthetic arm had received global attention from such outlets as CNN, the Today Show, and the London Times. “So we said, ‘Hey, wait a second, that’s the story,’” recalls art director Brock Haldeman. He and his team proposed the idea of featuring images from those news stories, without explanatory text, in the report’s opening pages. “Senior management was a little confused at first,” he says. “But we thought this was the way to get the reader’s attention right out of the gate.”
Coupled with the strong introductory media graphics was the moving story of amputee Jesse Sullivan, the patient who first used the arm. “This is really the organization’s message,” Haldeman says. “It’s about making people’s lives better. You have the highly technical scientific work. And then you have Jesse and his wife sitting in a coffee shop.” The 9½-by-13-inch size of the piece, which evokes a tabloid newspaper, also emphasized the information’s impact. “This story is larger than normal, so we went for a higher volume level,” says Haldeman.
Jurors agreed that in managing to convey groundbreaking research along with the sense of hope and exhilaration such science can arouse, this piece was a standout. Essl remarks that the subject matter “is so unsexy. And they worked so hard. This is really thorough.” Anderson, too, hails Pivot’s achievement. “It’s real problem solving,” she said.