Kion Group AG is a relative newcomer to the field of materials-handling equipment. Founded in 2006, the German company specialises in forklift trucks, equipment used in automating warehouse operations and other ‘intralogistics’ (the flow of material within a facility).

Kion’s 2016 annual report is a simple affair that makes effective use of a two-colour palette (black and purple) and a nondescript sans serif. What sets it apart are the type treatments used for lead pages and the inserted leporello print included with the physical report.

The type treatment involves a large individual letter that occupies the lead page to each section. The sans serif letter is presented as a multicoloured watercolour painting made on textured paper, its edges gracefully bleeding beyond the boundaries of the letterform. This watercolour technique also appears in a lovely world map, early in the report.

The leporello included in the report links the physical report to the online report. Once unfolded, the leporello functions as a large poster with a detailed, annotated illustration of the tools of the company’s trade. A fictional warehouse shows the reader what equipment Kion specialises in and how they are put to use.

Designed by the German firm MPM, this report won a Red Dot in 2017 for its clever use of a leporello and the way it linked a physical annual report with its online counterpart.

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