Why we suddenly love colouring books
P.S: My colouring book is better than yours. It’s about Star Wars, and Disney hasn’t made it yet (sup Disney).
Whoever would predict the popularity and the spotlight all those colouring books are enjoying. What is this? Why do we suddenly love them?
Here’s a list of 7 possible reasons for why we either own a copy of Secret Garden, or know someone who does
- The colouring book invites us to start something and finish it. Gives a sense of progress, play. An illusion of control, perhaps. Colouring book is the pendulum swinging back, a signifier. Just when we have photography in the highest resolution we fall for the abstract. So that we can make decisions, our own worlds.
- The colouring book lets us feel like we’re kids all over again. Like we can get it right, after-all. We get good at patterns, forms, shapes, because there’s much to re-learn about today. The colouring book de-programs the mind. Once we tried to recapture our past through artifacts; the colouring books make us feel like kids again through experiences. In short, if you have some nostalgia for sale, we’re clearly buying. Oops I coloured outside the lines, again! My lions are black and green, and nobody can do a damn thing about it.
- The colouring book levels the playing field. It is accessible: no need to code, learn about slash commands or hushtags. It is enjoyable. The colouring books reflect the variety of ways we learn, think. How crude our tech is still. The screen can’t be it. We’re collectively partaking in a form of resistance that will ultimately push some new forms of things forward.
- It’s possible that colouring books are popular precisely because of what they’re not. Because they lack certain common product features. The colouring books don’t have: push notifications, links to click, scrolls, blinking lights, forms to fill.
- The rise of the colouring books rides the trends we see towards individualism and fragmentation, but it’s also about the nostalgia for physical. Our physical worlds make us unique. We have unique fingerprints, eyes, voices, handwritings. Yet we spend a lot of our time online, where we all look much the same. Colouring books challenge us to make each page as unique as we wish. Nobody colours in quite the same way. We still can’t freely colour an algorithm. You can slash command me on that.
- The colouring book will make a perfect gift for every product manager you know and for everyone running a business. Because the best projects happen when you bring others in, at the stage of the colouring book. Show the blueprints, the roadmaps, the drafts, the lines. Let your team colour inside the lines, spot patterns, bring it to life and and make it all work. We do our best work when we do it together. How many people had to colour inside the lines to send humanity to the moon? How many had to colour outside the lines? How many had to carefully connect the dots, draw the lines and trust others, trust people for that incredible moon landing to happen.
- Or, as Adam said, I may be overthinking it. Nostalgia is powerful. Colouring is fun/relaxing. The books are beautiful. Perhaps there’s really not much to it, so colour me a river, will you. My colouring book is not better than yours, btw. Turn the page. Breath.
P.S. Do you love colouring books? Why? Help me understand. Lend me your crayons.