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Awarding Big contributors to Books for Little people

Great literature does many a thing, one of which is to make us think. When we started thinking of a name for a new award that Parag wanted to instate one of the pre-existing thoughts was to possibly call it The Parag Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature. Now not only was that a mouthful, it wasn’t quite imaginative. So we started thinking. We wondered if it could be shorter and fun and if it could make people think. 

Two years before the TV show Big Little Lies became popular making the ‘big-little’ pairing mainstream, we suggested Big Little Book Award (among others) and it got picked. This award honours Big contributors to books for Little people. The Award is a first of its kind award instituted by the Parag initiative of Tata Trusts and Literature Live! to recognise and honour significant contribution of such authors and illustrators to children’s literature in Indian language(s). The first awards were announced at Tata Literature Live! 2016.

The symbol of the BLBA logo is not just a simplified butterfly but also b,l and b drawn together in cursive. Butterflies are beautiful, flying insects with large magical wings —  symbolising joy, colour and transformation — and are frequent guests in children’s stories. They also instinctively know and are drawn to flowers with the most and best nectar. So, what else could be a better metaphor for an award that is looking to recognise the big contributors? The genial and light-hearted symbol is supported by the name of the award in a bold slab-serif type that offers it a contrasting weight in order to give the overall logo a balance, finally coming off as a serious award for grown-ups who have done great work in the field of joy (making books!).

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The website

For its inaugural year when the Award didn’t have much to say or show, we kept the website very simple and a single page affair. The design emphasis was on bold type (in a hand drawn look), on vibrant colour-blocked pages, and digital illustrations done in crayon style. The website was launched in two phases. ‘Nominate’ section was key for the first phase (June) wherein anybody could nominate candidates for the author and illustrator categories. And the second phase was launched in tandem with the announcement for ‘shortlists’ (October). There was even a confetti shower on the winners (November).

Blb Standees

Standees

for the event to announce the winners at Tata Literature Live! 2016.

Mugs

The mug

We created an illustration of bees with books as wings that are out on their all-important job of spreading pollen from one mind to the other. This illustration now clings to mugs that were given to the winners and shortlisted authors and illustrators.

Bookmarks

Books are vehicles of magic

We modified a quote by Hazel Rochman to give two sides to the same bookmark. A play on books and home, about how books play dual roles in the life of the reader: of taking them on imaginative journeys away from home and at the same time making impossible places feel like home through great writing. 

In here, on one side we see that a book is walking away from a cottage it probably lives in, and on the other side we see it living in all kinds of unlivable yet exciting places. 

Trophy Photo
Award Night

The Trophy for BLB Award

and its recipients on the award night.

Blba Nib End

Parag is an initiative of the Tata Trusts that aims to spread the joys of reading and make reading a part of every childhood by supporting the development, dissemination and use of children’s literature in Indian languages. Since 2013, we have been working with them on projects of varying sizes and scope, from creating an award that honours excellence in Indian children’s literature to branding and designing an app for children’s books in addition to designing for events, courses and a diary.