SINCE it switched to more colourful and better designed annual reports, the Hong Kong Polytechnic has found award success. It won a bronze award at its first attempt in the Best Annual Report Awards, and this was followed by three silver awards for the 1990, 1991 and 1992 reports in the non-profit-making and charitable organisation category. Production of the report is a joint effort between the Polytechnic's public relations office, which produces the written text, and Alex Fung, course leader at the Swire School of Design. ''The layout and typeface remain the same each year to provide a standard house style throughout,'' said Mr Fung. ''Before the copy is delivered, we select a visual theme. ''The Polytechnic celebrated its 20th anniversary in 1992, so that year the theme was based on history. ''In 1991, we chose people, and the 1993 theme is graduation.'' This visual theme is reflected in the graphics and the photographs, but the latter often cause problems. Corporations may pay a lot of money for professional photography, but Mr Fung has to make use of what is provided within the Polytechnic. In 1992, a photographic competition was held as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations, and some of the winning photographs were selected for inclusion in the annual report. This year, in an attempt to improve standards, three students have been commissioned to go around taking pictures throughout the year. Before he joined the Hong Kong Polytechnic, Mr Fung ran his own design company in the private sector and prepared annual reports for banks, hotels and major corporations. ''Business is more interesting, because there is more variety,'' he said. ''Institutes are only concerned about people; we always report the same things - visits, graduations and financial matters.'' Despite these limitations, the Polytechnic is winning a lot of goodwill with its more user-friendly reports, which are used as promotional material for members of the council, industrialists, and other potential donors. They are a great improvement on the previous style of report, referred to as ''bricks'' by Mr Fung because of their discouraging shape, and dull content. No other tertiary institution has a design school, and being the sole provider of design courses at degree level gives the Polytechnic an advantage. The first of the Polytechnic's new style reports received a lot of publicity, and the City Polytechnic and the Hong Kong Baptist College have followed its example.