Small is Beautiful (Munchkin Inc. Sustainability Report, 2021)

Founded in 1991 by inventor Steven B. Dunn, Munchkin Inc. is an American company that makes products for infants and toddlers. It currently supplies about 600 items and owns around 300 patented products. In 2023 it appeared at number eight in Fortune magazine’s list of most innovative American companies. Munchkin is also involved in a tree-planting program for goods sold and has currently planted around 4 million trees.

Designed in-house, Munchkin’s 2021 sustainability report uses photography and colour effectively, as well as making good use of two typefaces and hand-drawn numbers and letters.

In the pandemic years, many companies found it difficult to include inventive photography in their reports, but Munchkin succeeds in doing so, despite the fact that infants and toddlers can be notoriously challenging to photograph.

Photographs come in three types – studio photographs where kids interact with charming, beautifully constructed, handmade dioramas; images with the kids cropped out of the background and used in combination with hand-drawn illustrations; and outdoor, staged or reportage-style images. Colour is managed carefully, ensuring a bright, cheerful quality to the photographs themselves and any blocks of solid colour that accompany them.

The report combines typefaces cleverly as well. It makes use of a modern typewriter serif in a single weight for the body copy; a simple sans serif in two weights for emphasis (titles, pull-quotes and so on); and handwriting (for emphasis and numbers). This may seem like too many type treatments but Munchkin makes it work (a minor quibble is that the leading on the sans serif is set a tad too tight).

Many reports stumbled during the pandemic years in terms of tone and photography, in particular – understandable, since many companies were uncertain how to portray the financial year and indeed, themselves. Munchkin opts for optimism. It suits them and it works.

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