Sniffing Out the Story of The Paper Hound Bookshop’s Elegant Canine Mascot

Photo by Wayne Worden

Branding Vancouver looks at some of the more interesting logos and icons that appear in Vancouver’s food and beverage scene. Some of the explanations will be long and others short, but the goal of deeper understanding will be constant. If you want the backstory of a particularly compelling local brand revealed, let us know via @scoutmagazine and we’ll try to figure it out.

The Brand: Co-owned by Kim Koch and Rob Clarke, The Paper Hound Bookshop launched at 344 West Pender Street in 2013. We took an interest in it immediately after the whippet brand was painted on the papered up windows, and it continues to be our one of favourite Vancouver downtown spot for new, used and rare books.


pre-opening photos by Michelle Sproule

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The Designer: Former Vancouverite, current Victoria resident and friend of the bookshop, Carrie Walker, designed the stoic-looking Hound logo based on her own canine companion, a whippet named Trooper. The bookshop is also currently collaborating with local illustrator Amir Mohtasebi on a new bookmark design. According to Koch, the design “re-imagines the Hound in very fun, multidimensional way. We’ve gone five years without a bookmark, so this is very exciting. Stay tuned!”

Meanwhile, here’s her explanation of how the Hound came to represent their shop in the first place:

“Inspiration for our hound was found in a book, obviously. Specifically, he was cribbed from the ex libris bookplate of Sir Charles Tupper (best known in Vancouver as the namesake of a local high school; also a Father of Confederation, premier of Nova Scotia, and Canada’s briefest-serving PM) displaying the Tupper family crest, which is a curvaceous greyhound statant with a mayflower in his mouth. The family motto inscribed below the charge is “L’espoir est ma force” (“Hope is my strength”), which seemed an appropriately ingenuous sentiment for opening a bookshop in 2013. Despite having zero genealogical or social ties to the Tuppers, we dug their insignia. We thought the hound had a sweet nobility, and symbolised the spirit of The Hunt, which is integral to the pursuit of books. With his nose tipped to the breeze, he also embodied the olfactory element that is central to the used bookstore experience for so many people (“I love that smell of old books!”, they exclaim as they walk through the door). Carrie reworked the image using her whippet dog Trooper as a model, ditched the mayflower, and put him atop a giant book pedestal.

Having a whippet mascot has meant that we get to meet lots of handsome sighthounds and their owners, from sweet, quavering Italian greyhounds to a regal Borzoi named Tsar. To date, we’ve only had one phone call from someone wondering if we sold dog food. We do not.”


wood cut-out photo by Will Rendall

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Walker fills us in further on the eponymous Paper Hound’s personality and penchant for posing:

“I suppose I came to design the logo for The Paper Hound simply because I had a sighthound at the time, a whippet name Trooper. I’m not a designer by trade but I have been known to take on the odd job for friends. Kim had an old bookplate featuring a somewhat mis-proportioned greyhound holding the stem of a daisy in its mouth, standing on a platform. This was the basis for the logo. Sighthounds are beautiful dogs and lend themselves readily to having images made of them. Trooper was a bookish-seeming dog. He generally kept quite still and quiet and didn’t do a lot of silly things like most dogs do. He came across as thoughtful and pensive although I’m not convinced he was actually a particularly bright dog. The main hitch I ran into working on this logo was that Trooper tended to look quite dejected and this did not make for a compelling image for a shop. I kept sending Kim mock-ups and she hemmed and hawed until we finally hit on the problem. The dog’s head needed to be held up high – not a position he held normally. It means a lot to me to have my dog on Kim’s shop window as I loved that dog and I love books.”

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