When you pick up a children’s book such as those created by Beatrix Potter, it is easy to simply focus on the beautiful pictures and fun of the story. One doesn’t realize how crucial the typography of such a book truly is. However, Beatrix Potter did comprehend the importance of this when she was creating the original designs with her publishers.
With children’s books, the text must not only look appealing, but it also must flow with the illustrations and enhance the theme. The text can not simply just be put to the paper, as those who reprinted the centenary edition of Peter Rabbit showed by using a hand spacing of the text to make the layout more fun and appealing for a child.
In the centenary edition of Peter Rabbit published in 2002, typography historian Douglas Martin chose to use Founders Caslon. This typeface was popular of the period in which Potter originally published her first book. Furthermore, as with the original editions, the spacing and contrast between the actual text and the pictures was executed in great detail, as can be seen below.
Caslon’s typefaces had originated and became popular during the 1700s, dominating the preferred styles of most texts. Yet his popularity had fallen as time progressed. However, not too long before Potter’s books were published at the beginning of the 20th Century, a movement to revive his typefaces had began, resulting in an increased use in various versions of his original texts. In the 1840s, the Chiswick Press helmed by Charles Whittingham began using the Caslon styles in their books. As time progressed, it became more widely used for the public once more, and is still in use today.