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THE BIG BOOK of Little People.

Joan M. Mas

The big book of little people

Texts: Excerpts from Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims by François Duc De La Rochefoucauld.

G The wonderful typefaces used to set the text in this book come from the collection of the Fell Types, digitally reproduced by Igino Marini (

G The illustrations belong to the dingbat series called Illustries and Bruegheliana, exclusively distributed by Typephases Dingbats & Fonts (

All the illustrations in this book are Š2010 by Joan M. Mas. All rights reserved.

Intro The pictures in this book have appeared rather and other surfaces, spontaneously in my skechbooks as I comment in the making of... article at the end of the volume over a period of several years. The main intention of publishing The Big Book of Little People is to collect them in a handy publication one can use as reference, for amusement and inspiration. Hopefully, it might also serve as a layout reference resource, exploring different design solutions in successive pages. Using minimal graphic elements, each page presents a fraction of the huge collection of little people with accompanying texts, showing many options one can put into use in a magazine, brochure, leaflet and other designs. The little people that dwells on the Big book come from my original drawings in the first place, but I also converted them all to digital typefaces, a series of dingbats I collectively called The Whimbats. A picture font file is a very practical way to store graphics, as they can be used in any computer program, and their vectorial format allows the designer to modify each illustration with no quality loss. The necessary simplification of the images has one interesting side effect on the whole way one illustration works, with a softer, smoother, more iconic look.

The Big book is, then, both a showcase of the pictures included in the whole Whimbats series of dingbat fonts, but also an opportunity to gain some wisdom from the maxims collected in the text, which has been excerpted from the Maxims by La Rochefoucauld. As I had hundreds of images to show, and obviously the main reason to publish the book was to display them prominently in every page, I needed a collection of short excerpts, rather than passages of prose. Of course, the text could have been a mere placeholder, some dummy text or lorem ipsum of the sort printers and designers set in the mockup pages, but it was preferable to create a fuller experience with some text you could actually read and get some meaning of. There were several contenders to supply the texts for the book. I wanted to use some copyright-free source; The Project Gutenberg is an excellent repository of literature and texts of all kinds, full of possible materials I could include the book project. I examined the vast collection at the Project Gutenberg digital library and I assembled a small library of interesting texts with sayings, proverbs, maxims, riddles, limericks, quotations, riddles and other examples of short yet witty writings. Finally I decided to use La Rochefoucauld s maxims I like the timeless insight they provide. Perhaps a next edition of the Big Book will include a more diverse compilation of texts, in the manner of the book by Alan Fletcher, The art of looking sideways.

Two typical examples of the original sketches from which the digital illustrations in this book come from. Ink and watercolour wash on paper, approx. 30 x 20 cm. Their creation process is outlined at the end, on the articles about the Whimbats, that is, our exclusive collection of whimsical dingbats (picture fonts.)

Page spreads of the promotional booklets published for some of these dingbat fonts. The digital typefaces, which include all of the illustrations used in the Big book, are available online at They are also distributed by

Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.

Too great a hurry to discharge of an obligation is a kind of ingratitude.

Lucky people are bad hands at correcting their faults; they always believe that they are right when fortune backs up their vice or folly.

The good we have received from a man should make us excuse the wrong he does us.

Nothing is so infectious as example, and we never do great good or evil without producing the like. We imitate good actions by emulation, and bad ones by the evil of our nature, which shame imprisons until example liberates.

Whatever pretext we give to our afflictions it is always interest or vanity that causes them.

In afflictions there are various kinds of hypocrisy. In one, under the pretext of weeping for one dear to us we bemoan ourselves; we regret her good opinion of us, we deplore the loss of our comfort, our pleasure, our consideration. Thus the dead have the credit of tears shed for the living. I affirm 'tis a kind of hypocrisy which in these afflictions deceives itself. There is another kind not so innocent because it imposes on all the world, that is the grief of those who aspire to the glory of a noble and immortal sorrow. After Time, which absorbs all, has obliterated what sorrow they had, they still obstinately obtrude their tears, their sighs their groans, they wear a solemn face, and try to persuade others by all their acts, that their grief will end only with their life. 1

Big book of little people (sample)  
Big book of little people (sample)  

The printed book has 340 b/w pages, with softcover colour cover (different from the provisional cover shown here). The size of the volume is...