Blue Robin Press

When you publish books by yourself it is important to have a publishing name for your work, or ‘imprint’. This is to help make the books recognisable, and the name is stored as data on the internet.

But how do you chose a name and then have a design, a logo, created by an illustrator? What design exactly? There are thousands….just take a look at the spines and back covers on the books in your home or school!

Well I got the idea for Blue Robin Press from wandering around my beautiful back garden which is full of roses, fruit trees and flowering plants. There are dozens of different types of birds that visit us, from the tiniest chaffinch to the long-necked heron. Most come and go for a quick snack from the two hanging bird-feeders that we keep stocked all year round with nuts and mixed seeds. There is even a gang of brilliant squirrel burglars who know how to hang upside down to steal the food!

But the most regular visitors are a pair of lively robins who hang out in a hedge near my back door and make their nests there. I can always tell them apart from the tits and sparrows due to their bright red breasts, long skinny legs and hopping dance. Strangely, these wild garden birds are becoming very tame, and hop about almost right in front of us. I call them Mr and Mrs Chirpie!

So I decided to use a robin logo. But there was a problem…I wasn’t the first person to have thought of using cheeky robins for their designs. What to do?

Alison’s original blue robin sketch

I enjoy drawing so I started to draw a robin, and happened to use a blue colouring pencil as that was the only one I could find in the kitchen.

I finished drawing the outline of my blue robin and started colouring it in. Yes, that was exactly what I needed! The next step was to check that no-one else was using a blue robin logo and that I could buy a domain name to use if I wanted to. I was in luck.

I sent my robin sketch to Mike Phillips who is the clever illustrator for my ‘Whatever Next, Grandma!’ stories and asked him to produce a few ideas for me too look at. The result is the nice blue robin you can see on the back of the book covers. He is perched on a branch in some of the logos, looking very handsome, and well-fed. That’s probably because I have now replaced the bird feeders that the squirrels raided every day with ones designed to stop them. They still try (and it’s fun to see their acrobatics). I suppose old habits are hard to lose!