In case you missed it (or don’t have 15 minutes to spare pressing the Refresh button), Google have run a series of their infamous ‘Google Doodles’ in honour of what would been the 76th birthday of Mr Men creator, Roger Hargreaves. These are so cute, colourful and charming, exactly in the spirit of the Mr Men series, which I loved as a child – and still do today!
Inspired by Hargreaves’ son Adam asking what a tickle looked like, these characters have been around for over 25 years and been a part of my life for practically as long as I can remember. Sadly, Hargreaves died way before his time in 1988 and his son Adam has been drawing and writing the books ever since.
The simple shapes and bold colours, not to mention the funny stories and pocket-sized books designed especially for small hands, are extremely appealing to children and I was no exception! I still have the complete series of the original Mr Men and Little Miss books at home (if you shelve them all together, a picture forms on the spines!) and would never part with them to this day – and over the years, all kinds of other Mr Men ephemera have joined the collection, including t-shirts, beanies, toys, stationary, bags… the list is endless!
Assigning each character an adjective as a name that encapsulates their personality is such a simple yet clever idea, and it was through Hargreaves that I learnt the meaning of words such as ‘Uppity’, ‘Fickle’, ‘Contrary’, ‘Nosey’ and ‘Fussy’ and also very British colloquialisms like ‘Topsy-Turvy’, ‘Scatterbrain’ and ‘Chatterbox’. I think my Mum said that I was a bit of a Little Miss Bossy too!
There have been various incarnations of the Mr Men and Little Miss characters over the years and they had a radical re-design for the most recent television series, which I absolutely hated! But these Google logos are very much in the old style that I have such fond memories of, right down to how the colours look saturated yet slightly washed-out – exactly how I remember!
The whole concept of Google Doodles is such a clever idea too – much like the Creative Ecologies exhibit where one figurine was decorated and re-designed in a number of different ways, the Google Doodles play with how much you can alter one thing and exercise your creative license whilst still keeping it recognisable.
My favourites here are Little Miss Shy, too timid to join in the dancing, Mr Rush, whose speed lines leave a Google-shaped mark and Little Miss Sunshine, just because she’s adorable! Although where art thou Mr Strong, and what’s with the gender imbalance Google?!
But the big question is… can you name them all?!
[From top to bottom, they are: Little Miss Sunshine, Mr Happy, Mr Bump, Little Miss Naughty stealing Mr Uppity's top hat (but not his monocle, another new word learnt at the time!), Mr Tickle, Mr Messy, Little Miss Chatterbox, Mr Forgetful, Little Miss Tiny, Little Miss Magic, Mr Funny, Little Miss Shy, Mr Rush, Mr Slow, Little Miss Curious - one of the posthumously-released characters, and Mr Dizzy with these very idiosyncratic pigs, birds and worms that appeared in lots of stories! And I didn't have to look a single one up, so there!]
P.S. Since it’s the only Mr Men thing I have out here, here’s my Mr Men & Little Miss tote bag from awesome retro tee website, Truffle Shuffle.