When you discover OMY’s shop fresco for the first time - nestled inbetween quaint, Parisian side streets - you're locked in a moment of childish awe. In front of you looms a giant map of Paris; it covers the whole of the building, and it's yelling at you to colour it in.
If you haven’t come across Parisian label OMY’s super fun colouring designs, then we're very happy to introduce you. Their giant maps of world cities and fantasy lands - designed for adults and children alike - have made colouring cool. We chatted with the label’s founders; Elvire Laurent and Marie-Cerise Lichtlé, about their recent collaborations with Keith Haring and Jeff Koons as well as what led them to make colouring so much fun.
Elvire Laurent and Marie-Cerise Lichtlé in the Parisian studio
Creativepool loves what you guys are doing, how did OMY come about?
Thanks, we studied graphic art and illustration at university and then continued to work together afterwards on freelance projects. Over the years, we designed things for our children and our homes. The whole concept started with our first giant colouring poster of Paris. It was something that didn’t exist, so we made it for our children. Gradually the interest in what we were producing grew and grew and OMY became what it is today.
The front of the OMY flagship store in central Paris - a colouring haven
Your giant colouring posters of cities have kickstarted a new trend in adult coluring. What do you think it is that's got adults so hooked?
Its a very playful and relaxing exercise, it’s sort of like therapy to work on something like that. It’s also the perfect family activity and so there’s a real united aspect to it. We think that’s why adults are getting in to it as much as children.
OMY's collaboration with artisit Keith Haring
Your city maps are a global hit, where's next?
It seems like everywhere! We’re so busy! Currently we're working on: Florida, Miami, Seoul and Hong Kong, but we’re always open to new places and new ideas!
Tell us about your creative process when designing the maps and posters?
We start with researching the place and sketch out designs from there. All our cities are geographically accurate and we like to include lots of inside information and in-jokes. It takes us about a month to do each city. We love to include humerous and playful details; these are childish illustrations, but designed for adults! We also love playing with scales of size so we tend to make elements much bigger as well as personalising them with eccentric charactistics!
What would you love to be producing in a year?
So much! We constantly have new ideas for our homeware, wallpapers and maps - our desks are full! But we're having a lot of fun designing masks at the moment, so watch this space.
Does Paris inspire your work?
We’re both from Paris, we studied here and it's where we still live and work. Our designs is actually not very Parisian though. We started doing what we’re doing because French brands won’t take risks like this. We're glad we did. And it seems to work in Paris!
OMY's super fun collaboration with Jeff Koons
What are you guys most proud of to date?
Our collaboration with US artist Jeff Koons; our poster incorporated all of his biggest works. That was brilliant.
What’s most important to you as you grow as a company and a brand?
Remaining as accessible as possible. We really want to this to remain a fun activity that people can come back to time and time again. It’s important to us that our maps and posters are affordable, that we print on to recycled paper and that we’re constantly revisiting our designs as people send us suggestions and bits of information. We’re very open creatively and we want to stay that way.
Highly addictive stuff
And tell us, how did the name OMY come about?!
There was a trend in Paris a couple of year’s ago for saying ‘oh my god’ which we found funny and it kind of stuck. It was the name of our very first studio together, and we carried it on. We love it because it gets pronounced differently all over the world. People in Japan will pronounce it differently to you guys in London. We love that. It gives everything more character.
Geometric prints and wallpapers
Check out the OMY online shop and discover your inner-child with their super fun designs. We warn you though; OMY colouring is cool, but it's also highly addictive!
Our thoughts are with everyone affected by recent events in Paris.