So, what’s your story?
Owl & Dog are Yeonju Yang and Claudio Ripol. Designers by trade, we have worked for a number of years for corporate clients on a wide range of products, spaces and branding from our London-based design studio Yang Ripol Design.
We always liked designing toys, and one day we had the idea of developing a cardboard-based toy, and it led to adding a story, and then became something between a toy and a book. It happened very quickly, and now we have five books published so far and are working on more publications.
Although we are very new to this industry, we are fascinated by the possibilities when you look at books with an open mind – not as a set format, but as an object.
How did you develop a love for making books?
It started when we were reading books to our son. We really liked the physical interaction with a book, the bond between a child and a parent: the theatricality and role playing involved in the process.
This is something very special that I can’t replace with screen-based content. We love children’s books, and only after we had stumbled upon the idea of making a mask-book we realised we could provide something new in the market – not only the mask but the idea behind it.
Books are very rewarding as the development process can be very quick if you are a small publisher, and the result is also a democratic object that can be enjoyed by anyone.
What techniques do you use?
There are three aspects which make up a children book: text, Illustration and format.
We use various tools and methods depending on the title, but our process always starts with the format of the book. We design how it will fold out and how it can transform. We might have an idea of the content at this point, but it is very flexible.
From then on, we decide a fixed number of pages, shapes and size, and we start developing the story and the illustrations, which in turn affect the format again.
This means that during the process of creation we keep the three concepts flexible and interactive, all the way to the end. This is challenging as it means the artist, the writer and the designer need to be constantly challenged and ready to update during the whole process.
Which one are you most proud of, and why?
It is difficult choose just one, as they all work differently. I think The Adventures of 3 Bears has had the most impact on customers, and seeing someone’s face light up when they interact with it is very rewarding.
What’s the story behind one or more of the works in this gallery?
The Adventures of 3 Bears was a development of the Guess Who! idea; a mask book. Where Guess Who! had been a quick riddle, and a very simple mask, this time we set out to achieve a storyline as well as a volumetric mask. Something that was larger but still folded into a manageable format, both in terms of manufacturing and usability.
We initially worked out the way the mask would fold out, and then decided to have a three-book format. We also decided that bears were our preferred animal, as there could be variations of characters while keeping the same basic shape.
The stories are short, but with the basic premise of a fantastic, far-reaching journey to adventure, and back – just in time for the child to go to bed!