I’m only vaguely interested in what’s trending in picture books. (It’s probably dangerous to know too much about that when you’re in the middle of making your own work.) But it is interesting to see how trends in picturebook reflect trends in the wider culture, proving without a doubt that picture books are an integral part of the Wider Culture.
Ghouls&Monsters – appealing to children’s fascination with all things spooky, the main driving force behind this trend is the contrast between dark visuals and humorous stories and funny likeable characters.
I see this in adult TV culture. There’s the popularity of zombies in spoofy zombie flicks, and also in the cinema with films such as Paranorman providing plenty of spooky characters along with light-hearted humour.
Simple Picture Book – Less is more! This trend is all about the balance between the visual simplicity of a limited colour palette and cut-to-white imagery and quirkier illustration styles featuring cute characters.
Apps such as 2048 are part of a larger trend toward ‘flat design’ and simple layouts.
Silhouette – perfectly suited for moody and atmospheric stories this style relies on stark contrasts and strong colouring to create almost theatrical effect and captivating visuals.
This trend is reflected in app world in general, perhaps started with Apple’s own promotional materials. (You know the ones, with the silhouettes of young, slim people dancing, with lines coming out of their ears as if they’re listening to an iPod?) Then there’s the hugely popular World Of Goo which was originally made for PC, but it might as well have been ‘made for’ the touch screen, its controls were so fit for the iPad.
Activity Books – bright and colourful, activity books are as popular as ever and come in many shapes and forms: from sticker books and hand puppets to stamps and crafting kits!
Nice to know that bright colours never fail, though I do wonder if children really do love bright colours (because of some inherent eye-development) or if children learn to associate ‘bright colours’ with ‘for kids’ in the same way girls learn that ‘pink’ means ‘for girls’. Regardless, bright colours are unlikely to go away anytime soon.