Illustrated treasures: Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Tadaa, it’s time to introduce the fourth book in my collection of inspiring children’s books: a book written and illustrated by Peter Brown (who has sort of become my illustration hero).


Mr. Tiger Goes Wild
Written and illustrated by Peter Brown

Badge of greatness for the expressive illustrations and visual storytelling


One day at a children’s book shop, a beautifully green cover caught my eye. My hand reached for it, and almost immediately after opening the book it became clear: I would need this title to be part of my children’s book collection!

Now that book is in my bookshelf, and it is called Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. It’s a story about a tiger, who gets bored with the conventional life in his conventional hometown, where he lives with animals, who embrace being proper. Mr. Tiger begins to express his wilder side and little by little builds up the courage to break free from the rules of convention. The wild behaviour of Mr. Tiger affects the entire town and eventually leads to everyone questioning the way they have been living. It’s a beautiful, uncomplicated story about being yourself and accepting others as they are.

Story-wise, the text has been kept straight-forward and minimal, making the book an ideal read even for small children. However, whilst the text is simple, the book offers plenty of variety when it comes to visual storytelling. Peter Brown has certainly stepped away from the conventional (pun intended!) text-between-images kind of layout that so often dominates children’s book design. Creative use of the gutter, playful speech bubbles and fully illustrated spreads with no text at all carry the plot in a visually strong manner, highlighting the turning points in the story.

The illustration style in the book is absolutely wonderful. I love the contrasting combination of geometrical shapes, straight lines and soft, organic paint textures. The book’s colour palette is also cleverly aligned to the different elements in the story; grey shades add to the feeling of convention, lush tones of green express the wilder side of things and the bright orange colour of Mr. Tiger sets him apart from the other characters. Brown has also done a great job at keeping the characters fairly simple whilst still managing to add life and a range of expressions on their faces.

All in all, Mr Tiger Goes Wild is an admirable example of how much design thinking and research there is behind a well illustrated story. I highly recommend watching this film clip of  Peter Brown himself sharing some of the process behind the book:

Author and Illustrator Peter Brown On His Process.

Pimp your jar (+ FREEBIE)

A few weeks ago, I decided that the unorganized state of our kitchen needed immediate action. “It won’t take long,” I told my boyfriend as I rolled up my sleeves and emptied the shelves from all the many jars filled with spices and herbs. Most of them didn’t have any labels. “Now, that won’t do,” I thought, got some paper and sat down on the floor with a pen, ready to make some pretty labels. “Why wouldn’t you design the labels digitally and then just print them out?” my boyfriend asked. “You could even add a nice pattern for the background,” he added. “Okay,” I said. “Let’s go all the way, then!”

Without a clear plan, I started playing with some simple geometric shapes and bright candy colours. After some experimenting, the trial-and-error-approach gave some rather nice results. Obviously, the efficient “this won’t take long” reorganizing project got a bit out of hand, but my inner Martha Stewart really loved the process! Last week I finally had the time to paste the labels on the jars. I’m quite glad with the end result – not only are our kitchen shelves cleaner, but they are also a lot more playful now!

And guess what: you can join the jar decoration movement right now! What a better way to celebrate the end of 2016 than reorganizing the kitchen shelves, eh? To pimp your jars, simply click to my FREEBIES-page, print out the designs and glue them on your jars.

Merry printing & happy New Year!

Creative bus designs

Living abroad, I always notice some small changes when I go back home (to Finland, that is). Bars that have disappeared from the nightlife scene and new cafes that have opened their doors. Moomin cheese (yes, that really exists), new ice cream flavours or the latest food inventions like pulled oats that are flying off the shelves.

This year, however, also the buses caught my attention. A few bus lines had gone through visual make-overs, and I was really excited to see that they had chosen playfully illustrated styles instead of sticking with something serious and corporate.

Below you can see a long distance bus of Savonlinja, visually transformed by Nitroid. If you are curious to read more about the beauty treatment of the company (in Finnish), you can find more information here.

savonlinjaPhoto by Savonlinja

Here’s a preview of the buses of Jyväskylän seudun joukkoliikenne, re-branded by an agency called Zeniitti. You can find more about the project here (in Finnish). Video by Zeniitti

These vehicles were really a joy to see in city centers as well as on the long, quiet roads between villages. Not only did they look cute and cheerful, but I also liked how both transformations had been inspired by locality and Finland. Whereas Savonlinja’s new look was influenced by the landscape and nature of the country, the re-design of Jyväskylä’s buses was to communicate the pleasantness of living in the area. 

Speaking of small things that can make a big difference, one should never underestimate the positive effect a pretty image on a bus might have. Applause to Nitroid, Zeniitti and the brave Finnish bus lines that are replacing corporate with cheerfulness!