My mum reliably informs me that I was given my first Ladybird book aged five, when we first moved to the UK from Canada in the mid 1970s. My sister and I built up quite a library during our childhood and I have continued collecting over the years. I am now the proud owner of almost 200 books.
The Ladybird book size (4.5×7”) is the perfect format to curl up with. The books are dense enough to inform without feeling like a chore to read. We use this for small publications at Together and their impact is immediately friendly.
As a typical designer, I am drawn to the illustrations, which are usually a wonderful combination of photographic realism and stylisation. The books illustrated by John Berry or Harry Wingfield are my favourites. And special mention must be made of the buxom females in Pirates, drawn by Frank Humphris in 1970, a commission he must have thoroughly enjoyed! I also love the story about the MOD giving its employees a copy of How It Works: The Computer.
Ladybird books evoke an optimistic period in Britain where the mechanics of industry are glamorous, new and exciting. They stand for the enjoyment of learning and encourage eternal curiosity.
Heidi Lightfoot is founder and creative director of Together