How Roger Hargreaves’ characters inspired The London Studio’s social media memes
The latest social media trend to go viral has seen over 416,000 #LittleMiss posts on Instagram and 90million views on TikTok, with users adopting Roger Hargreaves’ colourful cartoon figures to call out personality traits and share how they’re feeling.
And Soula Zavacopoulos, founder of design and art licensing company The London Studio, has picked up on the trend by sending out a challenge to all the nearly 50 artists she represents across the UK, US, Canada and Europe, to come up with their own version of a Little Miss character.
British author and illustrator Roger Hargreaves’ first creation in 1971 was the orange Mr Tickle, with long arms and sporting a blue hat, after his son asked what a tickle looked like, and each warm-hearted Mr Men and Little Miss book in the 1970s and 1980s series introduced a new character and their specific personality trait to convey a moral lesson.
The current social media trend first started gaining traction on Twitter, Tumblr and Discord around April, and their origin is generally credited to @juulpuppy, an Instagram account known for sharing original memes, with their Little Miss Borderline Personality Disorder, Little Miss Neurodivergent Stripper, and Little Miss Irritable Bowel Syndrome becoming an instant hit.
Though it started on Insta, the trend now has become massively popular on other social media platforms such as TikTok, where the hashtag #LittleMiss has over 40million views currently as posters create and upload short videos describing themselves, their exes or their friends as Little Miss or Mr Men characters – with Mx widely used as the prefix for gender-neutral characters.
Here Soula talks to PG Buzz about the Little Miss and Mr Men memes that have become the latest mega-viral social media trend – and how card designers are joining in on the action.
“Hi, I’m Soula. I help card and gift retailers grow their businesses and I also run an art licensing studio. I created the first Little Miss meme just for fun – I didn’t realise at first just how far it would go!
“At The London Studio (TLS), our in-house team work hard designing card and gift collections, so I thought it’d be nice to give them some time out during the working day to do something just for fun, and that’s how Little Miss Card Lover was born.
“But then I started to think more on what it means to be a card designer today. I wanted to create characters that would share with the world the travails of a small business owner in the creative industry, the challenges we face, the struggles, the joys – everything that goes into running a creative small business.
“So, I reached out to my network of independent artists and card designers. I knew that, by getting them involved, we’d be able to be more representative of the greeting card industry as a whole and get lots of different people’s take on what it’s really like to be a creative small business owner. Our artists didn’t disappoint!
“Rosie Johnson sent over her design first, earning cheers from the whole TLS artist community as it is something that all of those running small businesses can relate to, in the shape of the frazzled, octopus-like Little Miss Multitasker!
“Then Sarah, of Silky Rose Design, shared Little Miss Creative Block, something that will hit every designer at one time or another, and having support from your fellow creatives can be a lifeline. That’s a big part of what I’ve wanted for TLS, to create a supportive community of independent creatives who champion, help and support one another through both the tough times and the good. It is the kind of support many independent artists miss when working alone.
“We’ve also had The Playful Indian draw Little Miss Needs All The Coffee To Function, Little Miss Covered In Papercuts from Teepee Creations, Little Miss Add To List from O’Connor Design, and a special PG Live drawing from Mrs Best.
“Charlotte, of Cupsie‘s Creations, shared her take on what it’s like to be a mumpreneur, juggling being a mum with trying to make time to illustrate cards – Little Muss Creative Mum. Indeed, several of the artists we represent are mumpreneurs and I often get emails in the middle of the night, as they grab whatever quiet moments they can to work on the business.
“The Queer Store created Little Mx Gay And Tired. Being tired or too busy was a common theme for most of the indie card designers though, when The Queer Store posted Little Mx to Instagram, they spoke of something no one should have to endure – they were victims of a hate crime the previous day having been targeted for being lesbians. So, they felt compelled to create Little Mx and shine a light on the importance of equality, diversity and inclusivity.
“While this started out as being a fun, playful way to share what it’s like to be a card designer today, it has also been an opportunity to feature more serious issues, and also highlight some of the incredible small business and artists that make up our beautiful industry.”