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Monday, 25 July 2011

The little Yokey World of YOKE

YOKE illustrate and hand print on the bonnie banks of the River Tay in Scotland. Affectionately known as Mr and Mrs YOKE together they create stylish hand printed products, including their beautiful signature hand pulled screen prints. Having recently launched their fabulous new website, I took the opportunity to quiz them about their creative partnership and future plans.

What's the idea behind YOKE?

We are on a mission to make the world more YOKEY! We are inspired by popular culture, things that make us laugh and the little things people take for granted. We want to brighten up the gloomiest of days and make people smile.

YOKE was formed after we left university. We met at college and instantly hit it off. We had an unspoken rivalry as to who could draw better! When we both moved back to our hometown, Perth, it was the perfect opportunity to join creative forces.

What are your roles within the company - do you spilt the work equally?

We are very lucky because, as we come from different backgrounds, we have complementary skills so what one can't do the other usually can. We try to spilt the work load equally but delegate depending on our strengths and weaknesses. It's one of the perks of a partnership. When it comes to our actual illustrations we produce them together and always make sure we have lots of fun in the process.

How was YOKE born?

We wanted to launch YOKE as a fully formed business and it's been a huge learning curve as neither of us had any formal business knowledge. We've enjoyed the whole process and wouldn't have done it any other way. In total it's taken us a year to get everything together but it's been worth it - now we can just focus on creating.

Where are you based and what's your workspace like?

We're based in Perth and at the moment we work from home which is great for keeping the costs low but we want to move to a studio in the future. We're going to keep local though and wherever we move we won't be far from the Tay. Our workspace depends on how tidy Mrs YOKE had been and if Mr YOKE has made his bed!

Do you both have creative backgrounds?

We have both always been artistic but as far as we know no-one else in our family is! (Perhaps the milkman was) Art and design have always been important to us and we've tried our hands at most things- Mrs YOKE can still do a mean cross stitch. We met at college doing a portfolio course and from there went on to Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee. Mr YOKE did illustration and Mrs YOKE graphic design- the two degrees couldn't be more different but it works perfectly for us. 

What does the future hold for YOKE? 

In the near future we're really excited about the launch of our shop so we can really start spreading some YOKEY goodness! We also have some surprises planed for a hand picked selection of retailers throughout the UK. Watch our blog for more info on this.

From there we want to keep expanding YOKE and already have lots of ideas for more fabulous products. We also plan to attend some London based Gift & Home events - in fact that's our main goal for the next year. 

Finally we want to keep making people smile and adding cheer to their lives.

Finally, who are your favourite illustrators and designers right now?

Our inspirations change all the time and have certainly changed a lot since we started our adventure into the world of YOKE. Right now we would say we admire:

Johanna basford, Mengsel, Hilary Grant, Sanna Annukka, Stone and Spear and all our peers from art college.

Thanks for letting us share our little YOKEY world with you!

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