Page 1

the reinvention of little golden books

table of contents chapter one.....................................................08 the story of little golden books

chapter two.....................................................20 the story of golden media

chapter three.................................................. 37 the story of filia the firefly

chapter four....................................................60 the stories golden media tells

chapter five.....................................................94 the story's conclusion

chapter one: the story of little golden books

not long ago, in a land not far away, children’s books were expensive and fragile. In fact, one could say these books weren’t made for children at all. Back in 1941, children’s books normally sold for $2-$3; they were a luxury for many families. This didn’t sit well with George Duplaix, president of the Artists and Writers Guild, Inc., so he began developing a colorful children’s book that was durable and affordable for most American families. Thus, when Little Golden Books launched in 1942, they changed publishing history. Little Golden Books were designed to be sturdy (a new concept), delightfully illustrated, and to be sold not only in bookstores, but department stores and other chains (another new concept). For the first time, children’s books were high quality and low-priced; the first books were only 25 cents each. They were available to almost all children, not just a privileged few. Little Golden Books, now known simply as Golden Books, have endured since then and in 2012 will celebrate 70 years of publishing.



a story for all ages 1942



The Poky Little Puppy

Doctor Dan, The Bandage Man

Bozo the Clown

Simon & Schuster

Doctor Dan, The Ban-

of the most popular

publishes the 12 original

dage Man is released

Golden Books were those

Little Golden Books: The

with Johnson & Johnson

that featured characters

Poky Little Puppy, Three

Band-Aids glued to the

from Saturday morning television shows. Titles

In the early 1960s, many

Little Kittens, Bedtime

right side of the title page.

Stories, The Alphabet A-Z,

This marked one of the

included Bozo the Clown,

Mother Goose, Prayers

first ventures into book

Huckleberry Hound

for Children, The Little

and product joint packag-

Builds a House, The

Red Hen, Nursery Songs,

ing. The first printing was

Flintstones and Yogi Bear,

The Golden Book of Fairy

1.75 million — the largest

A Christmas Visit.

Tales, Baby’s Book, The

first printing of any Little

Animals of Farmer Jones,

Golden Book to date.

and This Little Piggy.

In 1962, Golden Books raised their price for the first time, to 29 cents. It

The books sold for 25

would increase four more

cents each, a price at

times in the following

which they remained for

twenty-four years: to 39

more than two decades.

cents in 1968, to 59 cents in 1977, to 89 cents in 1982 and to 99 cents in 1986.






One Monster After Another

The Good-by Day

A Child’s Year

Golden Books was again

Despite turmoil, Golden

The Boy and The Tigers

The 1970s were a turbu-

tested during the 1980s as

Books stuck to its mission

The classic line’s success

lent decade for Golden

their leadership struggled

of providing all children

was not enough to keep

Books, as the company

to reconcile a marketing-

with quality, colorfully

the publisher out of

underwent leadership

based approach to pub-

illustrated books. They

financial trouble. In 2001,

shifts and the country

lishing with an editorially-

continued to partner with

Golden Books, which

experienced economic

based strategy.

established children’s

had filed for bankruptcy

books authors and

two years earlier, was ac-

illustrators and, in 1992,

quired by Random House

released A Child’s Year by

and Classic Media.

hardship. As a result, Golden Books’ status as a platform for launching brilliant careers in illustration waned dramatically.

The epitome of this conflict came in 1984 with The Good-by Day, a story about two best friends,

Joan Walsh Aglund.

The new owners sought

one of whom was about

Also in 1992, Little Golden

to breathe new life into

Mercer Mayer made an

to move. After seeing the

Books celebrated their

the aging publisher with

awkward debut during

cover, which depicted

50th anniversary. In rec-

books such as 2004’s

this period with his One

the girls, one white and

ognition of this milestone,

The Boy and the Tigers. It was a return to simpler,

Monster After Another,

one black, an editor

a permanent exhibit was

which drew wide criticism

questioned the book’s

given to the Smithsonian

less imposing books that

for its resemblance to

rationale, arguing that

Institution, “Little Golden

aimed at achieving a

Books and American

child-centered focus.

Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.

“we never see white children and black children

Culture 1942-1992.”

playing together.”



little golden books: current brand position That said, it’s important to note that the latter half  —  or perhaps latter two-thirds  —  of Golden Books’ life has not been nearly as bountiful as its first 20 years. The publisher struggled to remain relevant as the social and technological developments impacted the public’s expectations for children’s entertainment. Instead of evolving with the industry, Golden Books adopted a strategy of doing one thing well, publishing books. In other words, Golden Books was not providing consumers what they desired. To further compound the problem, these same social and technological developments threw the print media industry as a whole into a tailspin. As digital platforms became an integral part of parents’ and children’s lives, Golden Books’ flagship product became less desired, useful and relevant. As a result, Golden Books have become a passive participant in the children’s entertainment market. The company has become so concerned with survival that it has long abandoned practical and aspriational growth. The one-time leading innovator in children’s publishing has become staid and nostalgic, a fact that is reflected in the brand's current look and feel.


it is golden’s time to turn the page‌

and re-embrace childlike wonder.

chapter two: the story of golden media

golden books is now golden media As previously stated, Golden Books began with one simple goal: to publish cheap, durable books that contained colorfully illustrated, well-told stories. While this is still an admirable goal today, it is too common and narrow to make Golden Books a competitor in the children’s entertainment industry. Even Random House, Golden Book’s current parent company, has an extremely narrow focus. Instead of generating products that engage children across all levels, the publisher’s children’s division remains committed to “creating books for preschool children through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books and novels,” according to its website.




The means and goals of children’s entertainment have changed. A book, for instance, is more than a plaything that occupies a child's attention. Enjoyment is derived from interacting with and learning from the content in various formats. In other words: Children don’t just read stories. They live them, too. Golden Media has recognized and responded to the aforementioned changes. This rebranded company will be a leader in children’s entertainment, providing children with a comprehensive entertainment experience with room to learn, play and grow. Golden Media will adopt a new mission statement that encompasses these new market characteristics while remaining true to the original firm’s goals. The mission statement is as follows:


our stories belong to children‌

we light their imagination and animate their wonder.

golden media: brand projection Golden Media will not treat large publishing companies, such as Scholastic or HarperCollins, as its main competitors. These firms produce children’s books, yes, but they do not embody one character or set of stories. They are not as focused as Golden Media strives to be. Instead, Golden Media will directly compete with other children’s series. These will include both established and emergent series, such as: • Junie B. Jones

• Eric Carle

• Berenstain Bears

• Otis the Tractor

• Curious George

• Pete the Cat

• Dr. Seuss

• Skippyjon Jones

• Elephant and Piggie

• Thomas The Tank Engine

Disney, Sesame Street and Nickelodeon are notable exceptions from this list, even though each has a popular children’s book line. While their goals may be in line with that of Golden Media, their main character-building mediums are not. Sesame Street, for example, primarily tells its stories through its TV show; its books are merely an extension of that. Golden Media, like Dr. Seuss, does the exact opposite and will look for ways to apply its storybooks to new mediums.


High price Skippyjon Jones Otis the Tractor Pete the Cat

Eric Carle

Golden Books (After) Dr. Seuss

Low quality

Elephant and Piggie

High quality Junie B. Jones

Golden Books (Before) Thomas the Tank Engine Curious George Berenstain Bears

Low price


Who is Golden media's audience?

This is Michael Michael is a 20-, almost 30-something freelance web developer. He is a single, freewheeling Chicagoan, but he’s a family man at heart, ultimately staying close to where he grew up in the Northwest suburbs. Michael is the middle child, with a younger brother who’s a senior in college and an older sister who just had her first baby. Michael knows he has to get his nephew a gift (because his mom told him so), and he wants it to be a good one. His friends don’t have kids — t hey aren’t even married, or dating, for that matter — and he doesn’t want to go to his mom for more advice. Ultimately, he decides to rely on what he knows, turning to toys from his own childhood.


This is Mrs. Gunz

This is Elizabeth

She’s known she was going to be a librarian since the

Her parents and 3-year-old sister call her Lizzie, but she

fi rst time she was dropped off at the public library’s story

doesn’t like that. After all, she’s almost fi ve and a half now,

hour. It’s what sparked her interest in reading and writing.

and Lizzie is a baby’s name.

She thought, for a brief moment, about becoming an author, but Mrs. Gunz knew libraries were the better, safer choice. After college, she got a job at her elementary school library, and she’s worked there ever since. Children weren’t in the cards for her and Mr. Gunz, a fact she’s come to terms with over the years. She committed herself to work instead. She sees it as her responsibility to stay on top of trends in parenting and children’s literature, even if they’re not part of her personal life.

She just started kindergarten, and she’s pretty proud to be in the “Bluebirds” reading group. She can’t believe the “Sparrows” are still working their way through The Saggy Baggy Elephant! Elizabeth hopes her little sister will be as good — b ut not better — at reading. She enjoys teaching her, especially with The Saggy Baggy Elephant. Sometimes she’ll steal the book back and read it by herself. She always returns it, though. After all, she’s almost fi ve and a half now, and that’s a baby’s book.


This is Dr. Sara Mijares-Smith

This is Logan

Dr. Mijares-Smith has five degrees: one bachelor’s, two

Logan can barely sit still right now: tomorrow is his first

master’s and two doctorates. She doesn’t like to brag,

day of preschool. He can’t figure out why Mom looks like

so she usually only notes that she’s the world’s leading

she’s going to cry, though. Preschool sounds like fun!

researcher and doctor of child behavior development.

The older boy who lives next door said recess will be the

The doctor and her husband once considered having

best part, but Logan’s most excited for story hour. He

children; they decided against it, reasoning that the world

loves being read to; it’s one of the only things he knows

would benefit far more from their work than their off-

will be the same at both his mom’s and dad’s houses.

spring. Besides, how could she bring a baby into a place

Sometimes, they let him sound out the words and try

that is completely devoid of the proper child-rearing

to read along. And, pretty soon, he’ll be reading all by

tools? It would be wrong to subject a tiny, innocent hu-

himself. It looks like so much fun!

man to such a mediocre fate. Maybe they’ll adopt after she’s invented the proper tools.


This is Meredith

This is Evan

Meredith is one of those pregnant women who glow.

His parents will tell you that he just learned how to say his

Strangers unwittingly touch her belly and coo over what

name correctly, though he’s pretty sure “Eban” was right

a great mother she’ll be. She smiles because she knows

all along. His parents also will tell you that all of his toys

they’re right. She’s read all the books and taken all the

are worthy of being played with; he’s pretty certain some

classes. She’s done everything possible to ensure that her

are better than others.

child, if he or she wants to, will be the next president.

Evan will tell you that he’s too old to ride in the Target

She knows she’ll provide emotional support, but she wor-

shopping cart; his parents concede, as long as he doesn’t

ries about fulfilling her baby’s financial needs. Growing

wander away. He’ll tell you he can select what goes in the

up is expensive, and she’s looking for ways to save money

cart; his parents emphatically disagree.

without sacrificing her child’s development.

Evan often gets frustrated with Mom and Dad. Rarely do they see that he’s right. Except when it comes to a bedtime story. Everyone, even parents, knows The Poky Little Puppy is best.


chapter three: the story of filia the firefly

Filia is the symbol of golden media golden media: symbol inspiration Few things unleash a child’s sheer, unbridled delight as a lightning bug. Fireflies, which are a rare and remarkable sight, are at once dumbfounding and precious. They are symbols of freedom, inspiration and covetability. They perfectly embody Golden Media’s mission. Golden Media’s firefly emulates the doodles a child would draw when coloring at home or with friends. Its abstract simplicity is purposeful: It is relatable to all and encourages children to assign their own story to the bug, thus sparking their imaginations. Named Filia, meaning "friendship," Golden Media's firefly personifies the company and helps bring its stories to life.



golden media: logo versions Just like Golden Media, it is important to Filia to respect all sorts of communication and entertainment platforms. To ensure that she achieves maximum impact, Golden Media has arranged two versions of the logo, each optimized for use in specific mediums. The primary version of the logo, in which Filia sits on top of the word Golden, is to be used in print applications. The secondary version, in which Filia sits to the right of the words Golden Media, is to be used in web applications, such as the corporate website.


filia in print

filia on the web


golden media: business stationery As the symbol of Golden Media, Filia appears in a wide variety of places. Many consumers will recognize her from the spines and covers of books and other Golden Media products. This is how the company communicates its mission to consumers. To show that Golden Media’s corporate culture ascribes to the same values, Filia also appears on the company’s official business stationery, including letterhead, business card and envelopes.


1745 broadway new york, ny 10019 212-789-9000

December 14, 2011 Mrs. Kirstin Siegler 1671 Claremont Avenue Schaumburg, IL 60193 Dear Mrs. Siegler, This is further to our meeting of last week at which we agreed to hold a series of meetings over the next two months to review your experiences with the pilot implementation of the One-to-One Customer Relationship Management Program.

ruthie napier editorial director p : 2 12-789-9000 f : 2 12-789-9010 1745 broadway  new york, ny 10019

As discussed at that meeting, the objectives of our review sessions will be to: review and assess the overall effectiveness of the program; identify and document strengths weaknesses of the program; propose customer-focused solutions to address areas of weakness; develop an approach and action plan for Phase 2 of the project; determine the staff members who will make up the Phase 2 Team. As agreed, meetings will be held every second Tuesday from 9 a.m. until noon, and the location will alternate between our two offices, the first one to be convened here at Inter-Office on January 14, 2012. Fred Johnson of your CRM group is to act as the meeting co-ordinator and recording secretary throughout the process. As discussed, at the end of the process, Deborah Buxton of Consultek will draft the summary report for review by the steering committee. I trust I have covered all of the points that we discussed. If you have any questions or would like to add anything please give me a call at 745-9878.We look forward to seeing you at the Jaunary 14 meeting.

our stories belong to children.


Ruthie Napier Editorial Director

1745 broadway new york, ny 10019


golden media: website Filia also is a prominent feature on Golden Media’s website. The website,, is a hub for both consumer and corporate interests. Filia helps ensure that all kinds of visitors are served, bridging the gaps between participants in publishing industry, curious parents and enthusiastic young children.



we became the best of friends

we’ve been inseparable ever since

Filia insists on playing by the rules golden media: logo usage and standards Golden Media’s logo is made up of two parts: the symbol (Filia the Firefly) and the wordmark (the company name). The symbol is to be used in conjunction with the wordmark in nearly all applications. There are only two exceptions: when used on book spines and as icons for the web and digital media. In contrast, the wordmark should always be used in conjunction with the symbol. The wordmark should never appear on its own. Using the measurement M, when M equals the cap height of the M in the wordmark when used at its largest, the logo should never be used larger than 12 2/3  M . The logo should never be used smaller than 3 3/4 M.


12 2/3 M


3 3/4 M






5/4 M

1/2 M

1 7/8 M


golden media: logo clear space and anatomy Using the logo has strict anatomical guidelines. To explain these rules, we’ll again use the unit M. For example, take the logo’s clear space, or the amount of breathing room Golden Media’s logo requires for clarity and maximum impact. No image, text or object may be placed closer than one M away from the logo. The word Golden is 5/4  M below Filia’s glow. The word Media is 1/2  M below the word Golden’s baseline. The symbol is “flying” at a 60-degree angle so that the outer tip of the left wing is aligned with the letter D in the word Golden, and the crest of the right wing is aligned with the letter N. This means that the edge of Filia’s glow is 1 7/8 M from the letter N.


golden media: typefaces Golden Media’s branding uses four typefaces. Each has a specific purpose.

Archer Archer is a slab serif typeface designed by Hoefler & Frere-Jones. While it has a variety of weights, Golden Media uses only its Medium and Light. It is to be used in Golden Media’s wordmark and logo and nowhere else.

MrMoustache MrMoustache is a display typeface designed by Georg Herold-Wildfellner in 2011. Its characters’ handwritten qualities echo the brand’s friendly and imaginative tone. MrMoustache is used only for headlines and is set in large point sizes and in small quantities.

Museo Slab Museo Slab is a slab serif typeface designed by Jos Buivenga in 2009. It comes in a variety of weights, but Golden Media only uses it in bold. Museo Slab 700 is used for headings and subheadings.

Museo Sans Museo Sans is a humanist sans serif typeface also designed by Buivenga. It was designed to be a complement to Museo Slab and comes in a variety of weights. Golden Media uses Museo Sans 100 for its text type.



abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz



golden media: color palette Golden Media uses a five-color palette, with three primary colors and two secondary colors. These colors reinforce the brand’s tone, look and feel. The three primary colors, solar flare, golden glow and fresh cement, are featured prominently in the symbol and wordmark. For example, golden glow is used for Filia’s body and inner glow and solar flare is used for her wings. The words Golden Media are in fresh cement. The two secondary colors are used as accents throughout the branding system. For example, inner warmth is used in Filia's outer glow, while washable marker is used to denote headers and subheaders in official documents, such as this brand guide.


primary colors

solar flare

golden glow

fresh cement

c : 0 m :  5 5 y  : 85 k : 0

c : 0 m :  1 5 y  : 95 k : 0

c : 1 5 m :  20 y  : 20 k : 50

r : 2 45 g :  1 40 b : 6 0

r : 2 55 g :  2 10 b : 30

r : 1 25 g :  1 15 b : 1 15

hex: F5963C

hex: FFD21E

hex: 7D7373

pms coated: 1585

pms coated: 116

pms coated: cool gray 11

pms uncoated: 1585

pms uncoated: 116

pms uncoated: cool gray 11

pms matte: 1585

pms matte: 116

pms matte: cool gray 11

secondary colors

inner warmth

washable marker

c : 0 m :  30 y  : 80 k : 0

c : 6 0 m :  5 y  : 5o k : 0

r : 2 50 g :  185 b : 75

r : 105 g :  185 b : 1 50

hex: FAB950

hex: 69B996

pms coated: 136

pms coated: 3395

pms uncoated: 136

pms uncoated: 3395

pms matte: 136

pms matte: 3395


how should filia never ever be used?

Filia should never be flying any direction but to the right.

Filia should never be stretched vertically.


Filia should never be used with text in washable marker.

Filia should never be used in alternate color combinations.

Filia should never be stretched horizontally.

Filia should never be skewed or distorted in any way.


chapter four: the stories golden media tells

Stories are read, told and lived Golden Media will shift its focus to engaging and educating kids across multiple platforms. It will become more than a publisher and expand to use various media, products and activity programs. Golden Media will no longer be a passive participant in the children’s entertainment marketplace. It will stop lending its signature spine to competing characters and actively tout its own original stories. Golden Media will reclaim, and build upon, Little Golden Books’ iconic identity. It will respect its past but function in the present. This will require updates on every level of its operations, including book design. For example, the classic primary colors of Golden Books have been replaced with a less abrasive, friendly palette that celebrates modern childhood. Golden Media also will look to the future. It will entertain and educate children through various platforms, such as television, DVDs and board games. Furthermore, it will help children grow, making their dreams tangible and accessible with products such as plush toys and Halloween costumes and experiences such as art classes, writing workshops, traveling stage shows and amusement parks.


golden media: brand analysis

play learn grow


Golden Media tells stories holistically

Learn Golden Media is committed to children’s early educational development, with products that stealthily make learning fun. It also provides parents, parents-to-be and other adults who work with children the tools they need to keep their young ones on track.




Golden Media recognizes that a child’s wonder and

Golden Media values positive reinforcement through

unbridled joy are precious gifts. Golden Media provides

interaction and experience. To encourage and inspire

products and experiences that foster and nurture such

children, Golden Media provides hands-on literary

entertainment and delight.

and artistic training and personal publishing services.


we learn

help for parents and parents-to-be Golden Media knows that a child’s story begins before he or she can read, or, in many cases, is even born. Therefore, Golden Media has a line of products and services to help new and expecting parents prepare for their children. Through informational books about motherhood and courses in basic diaper-changing, Golden Media teaches parents how to create a home environment that is conducive to a child's successful development.



Baby Toys As previously stated, a child’s story often begins before he or she can read. Golden Media participates in these stories and sparks cognitive development through its line of baby toys for infants and toddlers. With their bright colors and soft, plush stuffing, Golden Media’s baby toys are as stimulating as they are huggable.



educational tv programming While Golden Media still holds precious the books that made its parent brand famous, it recognizes that books are no longer the sole medium for educational entertainment. As a result, Golden Media has created television programming that teaches and engages children. Featuring some of the brand‘s most beloved characters, these series and specials air on several channels, including basic cable on PBS, online on Hulu and on satellite networks on Golden Media’s own channel, FiliaTV.



learn-and-play video game systems Golden Media is also keenly aware that reading is not always a child’s favorite way to experience a story. This is especially true since the advent and popularization of video and computer games. Rather than compete with these new technologies, Golden Media has embraced them and turned them into an alternative storytelling format. Through a partnership with LeapFrog, Golden Media provides learn-andplay video games and consoles. Children can interact with their favorite Golden Media characters while honing their cognitive skills.



we play

plush toys There are few things a child cherishes more than his or her favorite blanket, doll or stuffed animal. Rarely are these artifacts just playthings; they are their child’s best friend. Golden Media admires the belief and imagination kids employ in loving a favorite toy. The company prizes its hallmark stories and characters in a similar fashion and has featured them in its line of plush toys. These playthings ensure that Golden Media’s stories, and, subsequently, children’s best friends, are not confined to a page.



sponsored play and story times Golden Media also brings stories to life through collective experience. The company has teamed up with the American Library Association and the American Booksellers Association to sponsor story time events in various venues across the country. Golden Media has crafted these events to include activities and play times that spark kids’ imaginations.



party decorations Like adults, children prefer to share holidays and special occasions with their closest friends. For a child, this includes his or her favorite plush toy or storybook character. Golden Media has crafted a plethora of party planning tools, including cake decorating kits, pi単atas, balloons and tableware. The company made a special effort to provide costumes for adults, suitable for Halloween trick-or-treating or surprising the birthday boy or girl with a visit from their favorite Golden Media character.



amusement parks Golden Media literally brings its stories to life in its amusement parks. Working with Six Flags, the company has established Golden Mediathemed rides, shows and games in Six Flags’ amusement parks, both indoor and outdoor, across the country.



we grow

writing workshops Golden Media does not stop at fostering a love for storytelling and imagination in children. The company believes that it is its responsibility to give children the tools to actually do what they love. Golden Media sponsors writing workshops for children across the country. The company works with a variety of partners, including 826 National, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the National Writing Project, to make these workshops accessible to as many children as possible.



art classes In addition to the writing workshops, Golden Media sponsors art classes. Through partnerships with the National Arts Council, Art Institutes and stores such as Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, Golden Media gives children the opportunity to try and hone a variety of techniques.



personalized and custom publishing For budding writers and artists, there’s nothing more encouraging than seeing your work in a professional, published format. Golden Media provides a publishing house for children’s works. Here, children can bring their creations to fruition and see them in a professional format. Golden Media hopes this process will encourage and inspire their creativity.



chapter five: the story's conclusion

not long ago, in a land not far away, children’s books were expensive and fragile. In fact, one could say these books weren’t made for children at all. That was back in 1941, before Little Golden Books changed children’s publishing. As time went on, the industry continued to change, but Little Golden Books didn’t  ­— until today, when it became Golden Media. Golden Media recognizes how children’s entertainment has changed. It is not enough to occupy a child’s attention; kids want to be entertained, educated and engaged. Golden Media does just that, giving children stories that can be read, told and lived. Golden Media never loses touch with its inner child. Its symbol, Filia the Firefly, serves as a public reminder of that commitment. She is a source of inspiration because, like the firefly, Golden Media sparks children's sense of delight, possibility and wonder.



Golden Media Š 2011 Written and designed by Holly Leach. Photography by Holly Leach and photographers kind enough to share their work on the World Wide Web. Copy edited by Teresa F. Leach. A fall 2011 Nature of Identity book with Hunter Wimmer and Gaston Yagmourian at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. Published at 2151 Mason Street, San Francisco, California, 94133. Printed on French Paper with an Epson 3880 printer. The typefaces used were Archer, MrMoustache, Museo Slab and Museo Sans.

Alight with Wonder: The Reinvention of Little Golden Books  

Not long ago, in a land not too far away, Little Golden Books were in trouble. That was before they became Golden Media. Golden Media gives...

Alight with Wonder: The Reinvention of Little Golden Books  

Not long ago, in a land not too far away, Little Golden Books were in trouble. That was before they became Golden Media. Golden Media gives...