Annual Reports

This cross-platform project explores 120 years’ worth of GE annual reports, spanning 1892-2011. In addition to creating a reference for this enormous collection of documents, the visualization shows how certain keywords were used over time, plotting the emergence and disappearance of themes during the lifespan of an American company.


  • Custom tagging and image tools for scanned documents
  • Front-end development tailored for a large touchscreen installation
  • Onsite installation setup
  • Designing and building across platforms: iPad, installation, and web


  • How can we quickly and accurately scan thousands of documents and turn them into digital data?
  • How can we transform printed materials into an engaging and unique digital experience?


  • Coordinated and scanned thousands of pages of documents
  • Built several custom tools to handle managing all the images, and preparing them for use
  • Built additional tools to handle and edit translations by multiple simultaneous users

The piece reveals a fascinating history of not only GE as a company, but also the country as a whole. The reports directly address national and world events—economic depressions, world wars, the space race, energy crises—and the challenges they brought to the company, its investors, and its customers. Accompanying images serve as visual commentary on various aspects of contemporary society and culture, from fashion trends to gender roles. Read more about the other curiosities we found in the annual reports.

Originally developed as a large-scale interactive touchscreen for the lobby of GE’s headquarters in Fairfield, Connecticut, and then as a web app for a wider audience, GE Annual Reports was released as a free iPad app in September 2012. The iPad app lets users interact with all 5500 pages of reports; fluid navigation between page spreads and different years encourages exploration beyond the keywords. Zooming allows for easier reading and viewing images in crisp detail.