To celebrate World Book Day (1 March) we decided to pick a few of our children’s favourite books and why we loved them – there’s obviously a design element to our choices, but they are great reads too.
Alex chose a classic here – Miffy by Dick Bruna. Originating from Holland, the Miffy books are a favourite with children all over the world for their bold, minimalist drawings and friendly sans-serif lower-case typography. Simplicity was at the core of Bruna’s books as he said he liked the child’s imagination to fill in the detail. He also chose a distinctive square format across all his story books.
But did you know he also custom-mixed his limited colour palette which is what makes the Miffy books so distinct? Branding at its best!
New girl, Jade, chose the hilarious-looking Pom Pom Gets the Grumps – a wonderfully illustrated book and simply written about a little panda bear and his tantrums – aimed at teaching toddlers about their emotions. We love the bright colours and simple Japanese-style Manga-esque characters (although author Sophy Henn is from Sussex).
“A mouse took a stroll through a deep dark wood…” We had to include The Gruffalo – a true modern classic. Julia Donaldson books seem to be universally popular with children and adults alike. The rhyming story about a quick-thinking mouse is hilarious as he scares off the predatory owl, snake and fox with tales of an imaginary beast…who turns out to be real! Axel Scheffler’s drawings bring the author’s words to life, and he brings a distinctive character and style to all of her work (now, if that’s not branding…)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is one of the very first books I bought for my firstborn – and for his first birthday party I made a big caterpillar cake and served only the foods in the book. The illustrations are wonderful, painterly and colourful which makes this deceptively simple board book appeal visually to even babies, whilst they learn about numbers, different foods, cause, effect and transformation. The holes add a fun tactile element for little fingers too!
Finally, The Book with No Pictures by B.J.Novak is AMAZING. We bought it for the boys as a souvenir from a romantic trip to NYC a couple of years ago, where my husband re-proposed to me at the top of the Empire State Building, on one knee, with the diamond ring he couldn’t afford when we first got married. (Completely irrelevant to this article but a great memory attached to this book, so forgive me!)
How interesting can a typography-only book be to a young child?! Well, as it turns out, very. Mainly down to a rule at the start which states:
“Everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say”
The reader is then ‘forced’ to say silly things about themselves, in silly voices with nonsensical words and ridiculous sound-effects, which gets children giggling and falling about laughing (my boys’ favourite line is ‘Boo Boo Butt’…).
Typography is used cleverly and to great effect with large and teeny type in different colours and directions. It probably appeals to me as I’m a total type geek, but it’s a fantastic, fun and interactive book even if you’re not a designer 🙂
If you want your rebrand to seem like child’s play, come and play with us!