Te Papa Children's Book Series
The Te Papa collection My New Zealand ABC, My New Zealand 123, and My New Zealand Colours employs colour in a way that is both sophisticated and vibrant, recognising that a children’s book has to appeal to, and engage both adults and children.
Designed as a means of introducing a new generation to the art and objects of the Te Papa collection, the curatorial team at Te Papa worked with Open Lab to select a collection of inclusions that allowed a careful balance of colour and composition. Our approach was to let the pages be filled with the collection pieces, using bold colours inspired by the works to compliment and showcase them. Colour choices for backgrounds and typography were led by the artworks, but were subtly managed to ensure they were engaging, legible, and above all did not compete with, or detract from the artworks.
As a design process, we employed a user-centred approach, which led to some interesting colour experiments, and at times even challenged our notion of what colours are. A class of kindergarteners told us in no uncertain terms that Michael Parekowhai’s red piano (He Kōrero Pūrākau mo te Awanui o Te Motu: story of a New Zealand river, 2011) was, in fact, orange. Conversely though, our junior user-testers had no problem embracing our new and unexpected kiwi colour invention – paua!
Three bilingual gems from Te Papa Press
– New Zealand Listener Top Children’s Books 2014
A colourful series of books to be shared by the young and old together, and a delightful way to showcase New Zealand art
– New Zealand Book Council ‘Peer Review’ April 2015
…three bright and beautiful board books for kids … they are small works of art
– New Zealand Herald Review, 8 February 2015
A collaboration with Anna Brown andfor Te Papa Press.
In 2018 these books were
The board books were easy: a Te Papa trio, which give a rich distillation of the New Zealand story in all its colour and variety. Using objects from the Te Papa collection, the books introduce the alphabet, numbers, and colour in te reo Māori and English.
– Kate De Goldi, author, who chose the books