The flyaway success of the Ladybird art prank

Elia raised £5,000 through Kickstarter to publish the book, painstakingly replicating the design techniques and printing technology used in the original Ladybird books. As encouragement, she put individual pages out on social media. By the time the first edition of 1,000 books had been released, at £20 apiece, it had gone viral. Retribution was swift, and it came not from the art establishment but from corporate publishing, with a lawyer’s letter from Penguin threatening legal action for breach of copyright unless sales were halted. Not only had she copied the style and named the children Peter and Jane, she had also cited Ladybird on the cover, brushing aside the reservations of her graphic designer father with the words: “It’s an artwork. I can do what I like.”

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