Ideas : finding funny (part 1)

There’s a place for sad, of course, and there’s a place for scary, but funny is where the wolf feels most comfortable.

So when it appropriate to be funny?

For picture books, funny is perfect. Adding humour doesn’t mean not taking issues seriously – but it should mean not taking YOURSELF seriously. Children love funny books – and funny books can get kids reading.

But funding your funny bone can be hard work. And putting humour into writing can be tricky, especially when that funny moment has gone and you’re left staring at a screen racking your brains.

So here is ‘Finding Funny, part 1’:


Firstly, STEP AWAY FROM THE SCREEN and get some paper or a notebook out. Find a magazine, maybe one you don’t like much any more, or possibly have ever liked, or didn’t even ask for (I find the RACV magazine is good for this) – or look up some archive photos, dig out some old family photos (maybe rejects).

Then, add your own captions. It’s tricky at first, but slowly the jokes will start to come. Some will be awful – but that’s ok. Here’s some of mine:

Here’s an ad campaign I did the concepts and copy for many years ago. The client was Accor Hotels. The brief was: show the Accor staff going that extra mile for their customers. Our favourite concept (which got picked) involved trawling through archive photos and putting silly captions to them. It was hugely enjoyable.

Here’s some of the postcards we put together:





And a mouse mat (slightly off-brief, sadly this concept didn’t get used):