Vanderford Childrens Book Service Dog With Pages Open With Dogs

Project Overview

When Debbie Vanderford came to us with a book idea with an inspiring story for children about service dogs, the Uptown Studios Design Team jumped at the chance to help. Wanting an approachable and friendly book layout to highlight her story, the design team got to work.


For the last 12 years, Debbie Vanderford has been co-raising Canine Companion for Independence puppies. While all the dogs they have raised are exceptional, Daphne was Debbie’s once in a lifetime dog. After her dog, Daphne, passed away, she knew it was time to share her story with the world. She wrote this book for children ages 4 to 9 to tell Daphne’s story and bring light to the life of a service dog. She set out to create this book for the greater good by giving part of the proceeds to K-9 Companions for Independence. She says she wanted to shed light on Daphne’s story to show that you can be anything you want to be, and if it doesn’t work out there is always another opportunity meant for you.


The client came to Uptown Studios with a strong vision of her story. The illustrations of Daphne were hand developed, by an illustrator, on 4×6” and 5×7” cardboard backed canvas in the medium, colored pencil. After interviewing the client about her personal story, the design team learned the illustrations gave her the idea for the book. Our designer started researching children’s books to find the best layout and size to engage children ages four to nine. She also delved deep into the psychology and theory behind what colors and typography would speak to children of that age.


The illustrations guided the color palette of the book since there was no established brand to work from. The client came to Uptown Studios wanting bold, san-serif typography for the book. Research show children understand the simple and traditional lowercase letters like “a” without the arm rather than “fancier” letters. The illustrations needed to be scanned in and slightly edited to fit in the allotted space. The book size was chosen for the target audience’s ease of use, small enough for little hands, and large enough for a parent/caregiver to read and show a group of kids in storytime. The colors chosen reflected the vest Daphne was wearing while she trained to be a service dog.


  • Fully designed children’s book featuring custom illustrations.
  • Strong colors and typography chosen specifically for engaging children.