Project Overview

Having previously created their annual reports in-house, The California Public Utilities Commission took a leap and decided to instead collaborate with the Uptown Studios Design Team on the creation of their 100+ page 2019 Annual Report.


The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies, in addition to authorizing video franchises. Dedicated to ensuring that consumers have safe, reliable utility service at reasonable rates, protecting against fraud, and promoting the health of California’s economy, CPUC regulates with groups like PG&E, SMUD, and SDG&E.


Since CPUC is a public-serving organization, the design of their annual report needed to be professional yet simple. Not wanting to detract from the dense information inside, the Uptown Studios Design Team first took some time examining the previous year’s annual report design. Most state agencies lack the kind of visual branding as you might find with a consumer brand or nonprofit. Because of this, the Uptown Studios Design Team spent time identifying elements that could be used as unique, brand-like elements. Considering the amount of text per section, strong visual hierarchies were then developed. Both approved, it was time for design.


Using these new brand elements and text hierarchy, the designer got to work. As they laid out each section, they also had to find stock photos that blended well with CPUCs supplied assets. On a tight timeline, the designer used a grid to create the layout and saved time by first creating front styles within InDesign to help bring that text hierarchy to life.


  • 110 page fully designed annual report
  • A report that visually highlighted CPUC’s emphasis on fire safety policy achieved throughout 2019