Quizzical Brand Lessons From Beloved Curious George
Many children have grown up learning with everyone’s favorite annoying monkey: Curious George. George stars in a popular children’s book series created by Margret and HA Rey which later became a PBS animated television series. Husband and wife Margret and HA Rey have created seven original Curious George books, and publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt recently published even more. The Curious George books have sold over 75 million copies worldwide. In addition to the PBS animated series, there have been three feature films based on the Silly Monkey, including one starring Will Ferrell as George’s friend The Man with the Yellow Hat. Boston even celebrates the character with its own Curious George Day! With such a popular and enduring character, Curious George has many branding lessons to share.
Here are five branding lessons from the Curious George children’s character:
1) Use color thoughtfully.
One of the things that makes any Curious George book, movie, or product immediately recognizable is its use of the bright yellow color. The book covers still feature it, and the only other recurring character in the original books is George’s friend, the man in the yellow hat. The Man wears his signature yellow hat and is dressed entirely in yellow, and readers know exactly who he is, even though he is never given a first name in the books. The repeated use of yellow helps reinforce the cheerful and playful nature of the Curious George franchise. Consider how consistent color choices can both tell your audience the exact tone to expect from your brand and make your brand instantly recognizable at a glance.
2) Lean into the ridiculous.
The Curious George franchise isn’t afraid of being silly, and that’s one of the qualities that makes it so appealing to kids and adults alike. Curious George himself is written like he’s a toddler age, and so he ends up in all kinds of ridiculous scrapes throughout the books and movies. Those scuffs and her silly little personality are so endearing, and they have become the backbone of the Curious George brand. How can your brand come across as a little silly and use it to become memorable to your audience?
3) Talk about universal experiences.
Authors Margret and HA Rey Curious George wrote seven titles of original Curious George books from 1941 to 1966: Curious George takes a job, Curious George is riding a bike, Curious George gets a medal, Curious George flies a kite, Curious George is learning the alphabet, Curious George goes to the hospital. One observation of all of these books is that they are written about basic, almost universal human experiences: riding a bicycle, learning to read, getting sick, working, flying a kite, and doing something for the community. One of the reasons these books have resonated with readers is because of this common humanity. Find ways for your brand to talk about these universal human experiences.
4) Prioritize your creativity.
A fascinating piece of information about the authors of Curious George is that they fled France to escape the advancing Nazis on homemade bikes with nothing but warm coats, food to eat, and five manuscripts, one of which was Curious George’s first book. 2017 movie Monkey Business: The Adventures of the Creators of Curious George tells the story of their dramatic escape from France with the debut of what would become the Curious George franchise. It’s amazing to think that Curious George’s books hardly ever saw the light of day, and it was only thanks to the authors’ exceptional commitment to their creativity that they were able to get published. Imagine what incredible brands would come to life if every potential designer prioritized their own creativity so fiercely.
5) Consider your heritage.
The creators of Curious George, Margret and HA, are long gone, but the Curious George brand lives on, with new books and movies being created all the time. Margret also established the Curious George Foundation in 1989, which funds programs for children, community outreach, and animal welfare. The brand’s creators were obviously mindful of the legacy they left with the Curious George brand, and other brands should also think about how their brand will impact the future.
Whether it’s learning from the incredible courage of Margret and HA when they fled France or the posthumous legacy they left behind, or learning from the silliness of George’s antics or the cheerfulness of the yellow book covers, there are many distinguished lessons to be learned from these 80 years. old brand for children.