High street stores and garden centres alike have their shelves stacked high with colouring books which claim to help stressed-out adults relax and unwind.
Linked to the continued popularity of ‘mindfulness’ there are now tens of thousands of such books, featuring everything from furry animals to film stars and fairy tales.
Nielsen BookScan Research estimates that around 12 million adult colouring books were sold last year, a dramatic jump from the one million sold in the previous year.
And communications departments have been getting in on the action. Take for example, this use of colouring books by airline group Monarch, in their recent Colour Your Summer campaign. The campaign is designed to inspire people to make their summer holiday bookings and features well-known city destinations.
According to Monarch, “The idea behind the concept is to standout in a cluttered marketplace, and to entice the feeling of adding ‘colour to your summer’ with Monarch through their flights and holidays offering.” No doubt it will also come in handy for keeping calm if you find yourself waiting around for a delayed flight.
But behind every colouring book is a graphic designer who must come up with such illustrations in the first place. While potential customers are colouring in and relaxing, there is a graphic designer beavering away to meet the client’s campaign brief.
One such graphic designer, Cat Goddard, based in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, appreciates the paradox only too well. Cat, who has worked in the industry for 18 years, has worked on various corporate assignments connected to the current craze for colouring-in and mindfulness.
She says: “I started doing colouring book-type designs simply as single illustrations, but they have since turned into books. My last job – a one page design – took me 23 hours to complete.
“Of course, the design has to be consistent with the campaign and there is always the stress of the deadline, so it’s not all relaxation. Rather than be stuck in the office I like to do my work in garden centres and networking hubs where there are more people around. But I’m often still sat there at the end of the day, with staff clearing away the chairs around me while I finish off my work.”
However, its interesting to know that what really gets Cat’s goat is not the effort invested into the designs but in how the finished product is used by consumers. “What really stresses me out is when people use the colouring books and go over the lines – that is really frustrating.”
Ah, childhood, I remember it well…
Cat Goddard’s website: catgoddarddesign.com
The Monarch campaign: Colour Your Summer
The illustration is by Cat Goddard and is of her home town, St Neots in Cambridgeshire. The copyrighted image is published here with kind permission of Cat Goddard.
For more on mindfulness and communications see: The impact of ‘mindfulness’ on communications