Against All Odds (Mailchimp 2020)

Email marketing company Mailchimp was 19 years old when the pandemic hit, and they made a sound annual report, covering not only their performance in a difficult year, but touching on various important social issues as well.

The report is designed as a brightly coloured, side-scrolling guided tour that begins and ends at ‘Mailchimp HQ’. The tour guide, shaped like the letter ‘U’ takes the reader through Mailchimp’s accomplishments, talks about customers’ successes, addresses the American presidential election, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement. Leaning into social issues helps situate the report in time, and provides valuable context.

Text is handled in short, paragraph-length blocks, presented as the guide’s speech balloons. These appear and disappear at appropriate moments. A few of the guide’s speech balloons include links to extra content, but this is kept to a minimum, so as not to interrupt the flow of the report. In specific cases –the BLM content in particular– further links are provided and these open in new tabs. Other information is incorporated seamlessly into the world: as posters, displays on computer screens, banners or graffiti. Text elements are set in Mailchimp’s brand typefaces, Means and Graphik.

The side-scrolling is a nice touch – it creates a real sense of travelling through the year – and a far better choice than a vertical scroll for this story. The loose, casual cartooning and its limited animation keep things lively, without being overly distracting. And while you’re travelling with Mailchimp, keep an eye out for the black cat hiding a quirky Easter egg!

See our previous Mailchimp review here:

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