Avni Patel, amazing designer of children’s books

Authors and illustrators get all the attention when it comes to children’s books, but what about the super-talented designers that bring it all together? There’s both an art and a science to designing books for kids, and the amazing Avni is here to share her secrets…

1. How different is it designing books for kids rather than adults?

When designing for kids it’s really important to use a typeface that is easy to read. It’s surprising how much difference a legible typeface makes in keeping new or newish readers engaged in a book.

You also need to add visual interest to the page; lots of colour or little details can help, as can presenting short amounts of information in a novel way rather than blocks and blocks of text – boring!

2. Where do you start when you’re coming up with a new design?

It really depends on the book, and how the text is written. Sometimes I find it inspiring to look at the different ways that factual information can be presented. For example, I really like old albums and archives, and old museum displays with all sorts of facts – these can all be very good places to start.

If I’m working with an illustrator, they are a great source of inspiration. The artwork and the design need to come together in a seamless way, and when it works I think it really comes across in the book

3. Do you ever check in with kids to see if they like the book design?

As I’m now working from home, I get quite a bit of feedback over my shoulder from my son! He really enjoys his non-fiction books and I find I get a take on the design that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

My niece and nephew are also drawn in from time to time to ‘review’ books in progress. Again – it all helps. I don’t like working in a void, it’s really important to share ideas and see things from a different perspective.

4. How did you get into designing kids’ books?

I knew I wanted to be a graphic designer from a young age. After art college I worked for a few design agencies, then an arts organisation, before starting in publishing.

I’ve worked on all kinds of books over the last decade but designing children’s books is by far the best and most rewarding thing I’ve done.

5. Any amazing children’s books to recommend?

I’m a big fan of the Owen Davey animal books from Flying Eye Books. [Alice – me too!] Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski is beautiful and you can always find something new each time you look at it. The So you want to be a   series from Thames & Hudson is brilliant – the illustrations are so fresh and the content is really engaging. There are so many great books out there at the moment, we’re really spoilt for choice!

Thanks so much, Avni 🙂 You can see more of Avni’s work at avnipatel.com. Like the look of Modern Art Explorer? Find out more and get your own beautiful copy here!

Want to know more about the wonderful world of children’s books? Check out these interviews with author Elle McNicoll and author/illustrator Yuval Zommer.

And, if you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to What Book Now?, my monthly newsletter. It’s packed with interesting, inclusive children’s books and other great stuff!

This page includes Bookshop.org affiliate links so I may get a percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you. I wasn’t sure about Bookshop at first, but I’ve seen first-hand how it’s getting people in the habit of supporting independent bookshops rather than buying from Amazon – so I’ve come round to it! Please visit my ‘Indie Bookshop of the Month’ on my Bookshop page, so they receive the affiliate payment.

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