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What is it about a little rabbit who loves to draw and play with friends that fascinate the world of children and adults alike?
Even if you didn’t grow up with Miffy, and have only seen the little bunny on merchandise and social media, you will understand the allure of this adorable character. A quote from her creator Dick Bruna (1927 – 2017), a renowned Dutch graphic designer, artist, illustrator and author, may offer a glimpse of her enduring popularity – “I create a world that children fill with their own imagination.”
Here are 11 fun facts you should know about the lovable Miffy, and no, she’s not a part of Kitty’s clique.
Fun fact 1: Contrary to popular belief, Miffy is not Japanese and not even friends with Hello Kitty. She's Dutch, and her Dutch name is Nijntje, translated as “little bunny”. Described as “uncomplicated and innocent” on the Miffy website, Miffy is known for her “positive attitude and is always open to new experiences”.
Fun fact 2: Conceptualised by Dick Bruna, Miffy was created in Utrecht, the Netherlands in 1955 to entertain his one-year-old son, Sierk. It all started when they were on a family vacation and spotted a rabbit in the dunes. Miffy books have a reading advisory level for children between 4 to 8 years old.
Fun fact 3: Inspired by the minimalist approach made popular by artists like Matisse; Miffy is hand-drawn by Bruna using simple black strokes with a paintbrush. The artist never uses a ruler, even for straight lines and painstakingly drew hundreds of different expressions of Miffy for every book. Throughout the years, he also insisted on remaining true to the use of primary colours for his main character. The versions that eventually made it into the books were picked by the artist’s wife, Irene, who acted as the first editor of every Miffy book.
Fun fact 4: The award-winning creator Dick Bruna is regarded as “the father of Miffy”. However, he began to refer himself as “the grandfather of Miffy” when he turned 80 in 2007. During his younger days, Bruna was initially aversed towards his family business of publishing and marketing. He only agreed to take over the family business on the condition he was able to drop out of school. It was his apprenticeship in Utrecht, London and Paris that sparked his artistic inclinations. The rest is history.
Fun fact 5: To date, there are at least 124 Miffy picture books which have been translated into more than 50 languages. Stories include Miffy and friends going on adventures around the world as well as everyday scenarios like going to school, learning about numbers, creating art and also playing in the snow. 2011 saw the final new Miffy book released.
Fun fact 6: Miffy has an interactive museum designed for young children in her birthplace Utrecht, the Netherlands. There’s also a square named after Nijntje there. The Dick Bruna House is a permanent exhibition at the Centraal Museum.
Fun fact 7: Miffy has a feature-length film Miffy the Movie in 2013, which is available on Google Play and iTunes UK.
Fun fact 8: Creator Dick Bruna sued Sanrio for copyright and trademark infringement of the Sanrio Cathy bunny character. In a surprise turn of events, the two companies had an out-of-court settlement, joining hands to donate their legal fees to assist the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011. Sanrio had to stop production and the sale of Cathy merchandise.
Fun fact 9: Don’t be surprised if one of your Miffy merchandise becomes a much sought after item at the auction years later. According to Artnet news, a 1963 Bruna lithograph of the bunny sold for £2,500 at Christie’s South Kensington in 2013.
Fun fact 10: Miffy turns 65 on 21 June 2020. She shares the same birthdate as Prince William and was ‘born’ in the same year as Bill Gates. Dick Bruna was born in 1927, the year of the rabbit.
Fun fact 11: In celebration of Miffy’s 65th birthday, Strathberry X Miffy limited edition collection was launched on 19 June 2020. For the uninitiated, Strathberry is an Edinburgh-based brand specialising in luxury leather goods and handcrafted using fine Spanish leathers in Spain. Strathberry bags have also been spotted adorning the arms of Meghan Markle on a number of occasions. According to the Strathberry website, Dick Bruna’s “ethos of simplicity and curiosity” resonated well with Strathberry’s design approach, with a strong focus on “powerful storytelling” originating from “recognisable shapes and colours”, where “the superfluous is avoided in favour of functionality and clean lines”.
Now you can have a piece of Miffy too. Take your pick from the Strathberry x Miffy limited edition collection. Enjoy free worldwide shipping with orders over £150, and a complimentary Silk Skinny Scarf with over £400 spend. Hurry, some of the items are already out of stock. Fastest fingers first!
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