Project case study: Get more out of your [insert any comms vehicle here]

Clarity was given the honor in early 2019 to design and produce Center for Produce Safety’s annual report for 2018. This was the third year in a row that Clarity was tapped to produce this important communications piece, which in itself presented unique challenges. The report was first unveiled at CPS’s 2019 Research Symposium in June 2019 — and since then CPS has been getting as much mileage as it can out of it.

What YOU can learn from this project:

  • Every communications project, big or small – this one was big – is an opportunity to tell your company’s story. So, look at every communications project as a puzzle piece: how does this piece fit into my overall communications picture? How can this project help me achieve my overall comms goals and objectives? How can I integrate my key messages into this project?

  • No comms project needs to be single-use – that is, you can always find multiple opportunities to put a new communications tool to work for you over time and over multiple communications channels. Recycling applies to communications, too.

Here are the details:

CPS’s first-ever annual report for 2016 was also Clarity’s first big, groundbreaking project for CPS, as we learned to speak each other’s languages and work together seamlessly. We invested time up front to design clarity (!) into the project, defining CPS’s target audiences and the objectives the center wanted to achieve with its report. We agreed we wanted to use storytelling to connect with readers and to bring CPS’s value to life. We also agreed we wanted to convey CPS’s impact by communicating its results and accomplishments – not simply its activities. We defined the report’s theme, outlined its content and agreed on creative concepts such as how to present the requisite financial statements in a simple graphic way that conveyed CPS’s focus on funding science.

Producing the second report a year later felt like a well-oiled machine, because now CPS and Clarity were comfortable working together – and that report’s format and outline followed the same basic model as the first report.

For a third report, I knew we had to break the mold.


The report we produced, reporting on 2018, is actually two reports: a traditional printed report, and an online microsite. Both reports focus on CPS’s work to fuel produce food safety change – a critical addition to CPS’s mission statement in 2018. The web report’s graphic design coordinates with the print report’s design. The microsite goes further to provide an expanded reader experience, delivering interactivity and lots of value-added content that is not found in the print report.

Access to the online report is featured prominently on CPS’s home page, attracting visitors with the compelling statement that “change begins with a vision” – mirroring the title of the report, and a CPS key message. Clarity also sketched out a plan for both social media and traditional trade media outreach to drive traffic to the site over several months.

Content for both reports was written and/or curated by Clarity. The print report was designed by Clarity team member Yondee Design. The online report was designed by Clarity team member Bright Orange Thread.