To most, Dick Bruna is the man who created Miffy*, the cute white rabbit known and loved by children the world over. Bruna created Miffy back in 1955 while on holiday with his wife and child, but before that he worked in the family publishing business A.W Bruna & son which had originally been founded by his Grandfather back in 1868.
History shows that Bruna spent a while in Paris. In an interview with the Telegraph Bruna says, ‘I really went from one gallery to another, all day. I was so much impressed by the work of Picasso and Léger, Matisse, Braque and all those people’. This clearly shows that he had an appreciation of art and a definite creative streak, so I guess that it was inevitable that he would turn his hand at designing book covers for the company.
Inspired by the work of Henri Matisse, Dick Bruna created covers for a new line of books from published by the family business. Following the success of these books he went on to rebrand the company, creating a new corporate identity and promotional posters.
Before the company of A.W Bruna and son was taken over in 1982 by De Friese Pers, Dick Bruna created over 2000 covers, most notably for the Leslie Charteris ‘The Saint’ series and detective series of novels O.S.S. 117 by Jean Bruce. These covers are deceptively simple yet they are great examples of mid century print design.
There is a wealth of information and examples of Dick Bruna’s work right here on the Internet box so do yourself a favour and go looking. You’ll discover some real gems if you go digging and because I’m such a nice chap I’ll give you somewhere to start.
*Miffy’s original Dutch name, Nijntje, is a shortening of konijntje, meaning little rabbit.