Joyce Wan And The Picture Book Month Logo

by Dianne on November 1, 2017

Behind the Scenes: Creating the Logo for Picture Book Month by Joyce Wan

In 2011, Dianne de Las Casas asked me if I wanted to design the logo for an international literacy initiative she was launching to celebrate picture books now known as Picture Book Month. Anybody who knew Dianne knows that she had a special gift for motivating people to do things. She was a trailblazer and her zest for life was contagious, you couldn’t help but want to participate in whatever she was cooking up, so I said yes. I was also excited to be part of a campaign that honored the picture book which has always held a special place in my heart. Read my essay, Why Picture Books Are Important.

Since Picture Book Month was to be a children’s literature initiative that spanned the globe, the logo had to be universal and kid-friendly. I also wanted to capture the essence of what it felt like to be read to as a child. I ended up using animals reading a book as the theme with an image of an owl as the predominant figure. At the time I was creating the logo, I was involved in the gift industry and owls were everywhere — fabrics, plush toys, jewelry, art prints, housewares; you name it. I was feeling inspired by the owl trend but I also loved their simple shape and how they are associated with wisdom in many cultures. A little mouse and squirrel were added to complete this cozy, book-reading trio. The logo went through a few iterations of sketches with Dianne’s input before reaching the final design which was created in Illustrator. Red, yellow and blue hues were chosen as they, being primary colors, evoke a feeling of warmth and familiarity.

It’s been such a joy to see how Picture Book Month has grown over the years and an honor to be part of Dianne’s legacy. The essays on the website have become a source of inspiration and reflection to picture book lovers around the world. I look forward to reading what wonderful nuggets of wisdom the Picture Book Champions have to share with us this year and celebrating the power of picture books. Happy Picture Book Month!

About Joyce Wan
Joyce is an award-winning author-illustrator of many books for children including You Are My Cupcake, We Belong Together, The Whale In My Swimming Pool, the Peep and Egg series written by Laura Gehl, and Sleepyheads written by Sandra Howatt. Joyce lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter. She hopes to spread joy through all her work and inspire people to embrace the spirit of childhood and follow their dreams.

Literacy Activity
November 1 – Create Your Own or Class Logo

“Picture Books can address both heart and standards.”(from Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

A logo is one way to express and communicate one’s identity, belief and aspirations. It is also a good medium to use when campaigning for an advocacy or a project. What is the logo of your life? Do you have a project for a specific cause? What is your advocacy?

Think of metaphors and symbols for your message, belief, cause and/or advocacy. Go get a pencil and paper and start sketching! Show your drafts to friends and family. Ask for their comments and feedback. Revise and polish the final logo. You may need to learn an app or software to create the final logo. Consult artists and experts as necessary.

In the classroom, lead your class to think of a class logo. Brainstorm on ideas, objectives, purpose and think through criteria informing that the logo has met standards of communication arts and design. Make it collaborative. Assign work according to the skills of your students. Have them work in groups: concept makers; designers; artists; editors; promotions people. Explain the function of each group but keep to the goal or objectives of the project.

Suggested reading:

You Are My Cupcake by Joyce Wan
Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe
My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden’s Childhood Journey, by Jeanne Walker Harvey and Elizabeth Zunon
Through Georgia’s Eyes by Rachel Victoria Rodriguez and Julie Paschkis

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classroom for more engaging ideas and activities to bring picture books into the ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Penny Parker Klostermann November 2, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Thanks for this behind-the-scenes look at the logo, Joyce. It has always made me feel warm and cozy.


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