Ahead of the Easter break, we’re starting the working week off by chatting with Sophie Dauvois, editor of kid’s mag Okido. The London-based title is an independent children’s magazines that focuses on art and science, and we’ve been especially taken by the imaginative approach behind its latest Poo-themed issue. Today, Sophie tells us more about the Okido sensibility, the process behind putting together the much-loved mag, and why 3D design and a television-inspired colour palette is central to inspiring a young audience.
How was your weekend?
Fab, Spring is my favourite season, I love this new mild weather and time in the garden.
Tell us about your journey to work.
I cycle to work on my fantastic Brompton. Quite a long ride, but I have a good route. I love that time before I start the day to think and… exercise! It’s a good way to wake up. Coffee is when I arrive at work this time is also great for editorial meeting and design process brainstorms with the Okido team.
Describe the state of your desk.
Lots of piles, lots of magazines, a very busy desk.
Exactly as the main character in the magazine ‘messy’, but organised chaos. I love to have everything at arms reach. There are piles of beautiful inspiration books, elements of past experiments, little sketches for the new issue on random bits of paper, and always a glass of water!
Which magazine do you first remember?
I grew up in France with Pomme d’Api, a really fun and beautiful children magazine that really has always stayed in the back of my mind and probably is part of the inspiration to create my own. Receiving this magazine was the highlight of the month, the characters used to inspire me to draw and play everyday!
What magazine matters to you the most this morning?
I get inspired by visuals whether it’s on magazine shelf or on Pinterest… One of the team bought in Ladybeard magazine and left it on the meeting table. I picked it up because if it’s ‘sciency’ 3D cover, but then soon came to realise the content was well written and about substantial issues that matter in 2017.
What Easter children’s activities do you have planned next week?
We love igniting children’s imagination, and answering their questions. When you need to know… ‘come’ to Okido. We are opening up Okido HQ to families to get a first hand behind the scene look at how the magazine and TV programme are made. We are hosting storytelling, drawing and exploring workshops!
We are so lucky to have amazing friends and partners who we love collaborating with to bring children the best in informal learning through play like Institute of imagination and Design Museum.
But firstly I will be spending time with family! Also this is the best time to play and explore outside!
Talk us through the design problems surrounding mainstream children’s magazines.
Children deserve the best. From ages three to eight; is the age of curiosity, creativity and children automatically have a natural interest in science. They have no preconceptions of the world, and still question everything around them. At Okido we want to courage and preserve this for as long as possible.
We want the magazine to be a tactile object which is going to create memories in children using all their senses. We are aware of the time children spend watching screens and we are happy to make them doing things and explore.
We also created Okido magazine trying to avoid gender stereotyping and have with environmental concern. The children magazines are very much linked to TV characters, like builders or fairies… the paper is glossy not allowing to draw on it easily, the colour palette is also very TV like. Children are attracted by the plastic toy on the cover more than the magazine.
How does the design of Okido encourage children to engage with scientific discovery?
By providing children with outstanding visual stimulus, in the form of award winning illustrations, clear, lively graphics we promote inquisitive informal learning through play.
We like to push the uses of a traditional publication by being particular about the type of paper we print on to the way the characters interact in the magazine
Okido stimulates scientific curiosity and appetite by offering things to read and things to do in and out the magazines. Each issue of the magazine is themed and introduce children to a scientific subject in many different ways, from stories, activities, cooking, jokes, songs to experiments.
Tell us about the new poo issue.
Everyone poo’s! It’s a fact of life! Children love poo stories. For Okido it’s a great platform to teach about digestion, personal health and food! Expect Poo snap cards, poo poems and body games!
Pick a spread from the issue and tell us what it says about your magazine.
In the middle of every issue of Okido magazine there is a cardboard pop out and play game. In the Poo & Wee issue it’s – POO SNAP CARDS! As you cut the cards out you can learn about family members, different types of animal poo, and toilets around the world. It’s fun for the whole family to get involved in.
What are you finding most frustrating about your work this week?
I think everyone that edits a magazine can relate to deadlines and organisation of time, especially when your computer decides to have a crash mid file!
What’s going to be the highlight of this week for you?
We are currently testing out some top secret experiments for next months issue… let’s just say one is nearly ready!
What will you be doing after this chat?