How Do You Get A Mouse To Smile?

Children's Book Design


Star Bright Book Publishers


Art Director, Graphic Designer


Design layout of book, compile into print-ready format, and send to printer

I've never been much of a children's book reader. It's not that I'm too old, but more I felt that the typefaces were often wrong. You'd have bouncy characters and bouncy language and the text would be Times New Roman, left justified, and big.

I know, I know, the words need to be legible as the kids learn to read and can't be cacographic. But I guess I've always wanted the typefaces to be at least as dynamic as the language. Fonts are expressive, let them express.

So, when I worked with Star Bright Books to design a children's book with beautifully painted images by Cornelius Van Wright and the quirky and energetic language written by Bonnie Grubman I was delighted that finally I could make the text dance and play like all of the other elements.

Compass Click Images for Gallery

Each page was honed to perfection to be enjoyed, studied, and paused upon as a stand alone spread. As the images and language got progressively more outlandish, I also found ways to coordinate the typographic expression and positioning to become wilder and also more interactive with the images. For example, I used radial bands of text to show the motion of a boy doing a back-flip and created jumbled and scattered lines where another character fell into a paint bucket. The text becomes integral to the chaos within the story, not just the conduit of the story.

The book went on to receive the Graphic Design USA's American Graphic Design Award for 2010.

To find out how the story ends or for more information on purchasing the book, visit Star Bright Books.