As many have, I was brought up reading the Tales of Beatrix Potter and I treasure the characters dearly. Over the years of taking an interest in how the stories came to be, I have found stories about Beatrix herself to be fascinating and it surprises me that these details are not more widely known.
To inform and educate people who may only know Beatrix for her storytelling and illustrations about
her other passions and pursuits within her lifetime. The aim is to bring Beatrix Potter to the forefront of association with her name, not just her authorial practice. A woman as a whole - the outcome for this project will aim to put an equal amount of emphasis on her other achievements as on her well loved stories and characters.
Beatrix Potter was an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservationist best known for her children’s books featuring animals, such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
Whilst Beatrix is best known for her illustrations and book publishing, she also had a strong business sense, a love for science and even bred sheep later in life. Beatrix Potter was a woman achieving in an era when ambitious women were firmly discouraged from flourishing.
Celebrating the life and achievements of Beatrix within the context of an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The V&A holds the world’s largest collection of Beatrix Potter’s drawings, correspondence and photographs. Due to the V&A’S strong links with Beatrix’s works and variety of items that the V&A exhibits on a regular basis, I felt it was a logical location to celebrate Beatrix in this way.
I began my journey into establishing a visual identity for the exhibition by looking at the strong typography present on the covers of Beatrix Potter's children's books.
From the hand crafted letter forms present on first and second editions of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, I created the typeface below.
Beatrix’s illustrations within her books are completed in watercolour.
I used her watercolour illustrations in order to create a colour palette to be used within designs as it echoes the style and colouring of the original books without directly referencing their illustrations.
Stories and descriptions of Beatrix show her as being a powerful character. The title of ‘The Tales of Beatrix Potter’ is inspired by Beatrix’s books such as ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit.’ The Tales of Beatrix Potter is an identity that will capture the spirit of Beatrix Potter as a scientist, a businesswoman, a well known author and illustrator.
Beatrix Potter’s books, and many children’s books of the time, have a rather iconic way of typesetting, full of character and personality. From the capitalised first word to the justified type and the words placed to give a sense of movement.
I took the quotes I have found about Beatrix and typeset them in the style of her books.
In accompaniment to the exhibition there would be the option to buy merchandise, or even the opportunity for new products to be released onto the market. Taken from the concept of ‘The Tales of Beatrix Potter’, I have created a book. Taking inspiration from every aspect of Beatrix’s own books from the grids to the typesetting, the watercolours and even the styling of the front and dust jacket. The book is made of sayings and facts about Beatrix, accompanied by illustrations from her own books.
Other advertisements and merchandising would lend themselves to telling more Tales of Beatrix Potter. By accompanying relevant items with stories about Beatrix, the tales and objects are given more significance.