#GiveBooks: Making Mittens with Lisa Congdon

When searching for an illustrator to create a logo for our annual #GiveBooks campaign, the creative brief looks something like this:

  1. We need a logo for our warm and fuzzy annual holiday campaign!
  2. It should be wintery, even though a San Francisco winter looks like a lot like a San Francisco spring, summer, and fall for that matter…
  3. It should encapsulate why books are just the absolute best.

This calls for some serious creative muscle. The past two years of the campaign were charmingly rendered by illustration superstars Julia Rothman and Gemma Correll, and this year we were over the moon when Lisa Congdon agreed to take on the challenge.

Chronicle has been lucky enough to work with Lisa on a number of books, including Tender Buttons, Whatever You Are, Be a Good One, and Art, Inc., and others, with more coming next year. She has an amazing sense of color and a literary sensibility, but the idea for the logo came from these paintings she did of Swedish mittens.

mittens_lowres1 (1)


They are high contrast and graphic, but also soft and cozy. This is no small feat, perfect for a feel-good campaign that also has to grab attention on the web. So we asked for books and mittens, and here were some early sketches.



While it may be difficult to turn the pages with wooly accessories on, we loved the idea of this combination gift: something to keep you warm, and something to keep you interested. We decided on the design on the right, and Lisa hand-painted it and added the hashtag. Then with a few color edits, we landed on the final logo:



Because we had such mitten fever, Lisa was kind enough to draw a few more, and we’ve made it our mission to make them dance as much as possible throughout the campaign.

dancing mittens

It’s not an accident that we work with illustrators every year for #GiveBooks. It’s a very earnest campaign, and one we believe in deeply. For every pledge to support your local bookseller by giving books this season, we’re donating a book to a child in need through First Book, up to 10,000 copies. In this time of intense visual, verbal, and every other kind of stimulation, we work with illustrators because of what they do best: amplify on the power of words and express things that words cannot. Thanks to Lisa for working with us this year, and thank you for joining us again in this celebration of that generous impulse to share a book with someone you love.

Kathryn Jaller
Senior Community Manager

Kathryn Jaller

Kathryn Jaller

Previous Associate Director of online strategy at Chronicle Books and art/craft/cat lady. You can follow her at @kholler.
Kathryn Jaller

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