A Dog’s Story™

We were tasked with designing and creating an educational application for smartphones and tablets that teaches children about dog safety.

In New Zealand there are over 9,900 dog bites a year, with the most likely victims being children aged 5-9. Over 75% of these incidents happen in the home environment, with a dog that is known to the child.

A lot of these incidents happen due to a lack of education around dog safety. However it's the dog that is often blamed and in most cases put down.

Created in partnership with dog behaviourists and the Auckland City Council, A Dog’s Story™ is an interactive adventure that teaches children dog safety and how to read dog behaviour.

If you haven't already, you can download the app for free from the following app stores:

Behind the Scenes

The design of the app had to appeal to parents and children alike. It needed to carry a sense of educational quality and a nostalgic ‘children’s-book-feel’ as well as being entertaining and engaging for kids. Rather than doing something that felt ‘sugar-coated’, the intention was to produce a piece that felt unique and crafted - focusing on delivering the information in a delightful story that would have strong replayability.

The art direction was a wholesome painterly approach to the visual design which gave the digital world a tactile and textural feel. The challenge in the interactive design of the app was creating a production pipeline in which none of the artistic quality of imagery is lost. The intention was to have the user seamlessly run through and interact with the paintings.

We engineered bespoke interactive tools that would give us the ability to bring this world to life. Coupled with animators and digital designers, we were able to uniquely problem-solve and navigate obstacles quickly to develop incredibly responsive workflows.

Dog Designs

It was important for us to correctly represent dog behaviour through poses and expressions, to get the body language right in order to enable children to recognise how to react to dogs based on different situations. The dogs had to feel aesthetically interesting in their artistic interpretation, but also not too stylised that they lose relevancy to the real world. Below is a selection of explorations and designs into the look and feel of our furry friends...

Characters and Landscapes

A large part of the responsibility around dog safety lies with the owner. It was important for the user to know that whenever they came across a dog, they should do so under the permission and supervision of the owner. The owners therefore became an important aspect of the user's interaction with the dogs in the experience. We wanted to develop a more whimsical, fun and magical world that included a variety of different 'types' of owners as much as a variety in dog species.

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