Drawing ambition

In her regular column on local small businesses, Waltham Forest Business Network’s Jo Sealy meets a Leytonstone publisher with a global reach

Yahya El-Droubie

Yahya El-Droubie is the founder of Korero Press

A move to Leytonstone six years ago prompted Yahya El-Droubie to fulfil his long-held ambition to set up his own publishing company.

Yahya, better known as Yak, is the founder of Korero Publishing. He said: “I had been working in publishing, mainly as a graphic designer, since the early 1990s, for such companies as Dorling Kindersley, Quarto and Guinness Book of Records.

“I really wanted to contribute to the careers of the artists I admired and wanted to work with. So I put my own funds into getting started and now it really gives me a great deal of satisfaction to see our artists and authors gain international recognition.”

Korero Press is an art book publisher, selling its books all over the world, with titles ranging from pop culture and street art, to graphic design and horror titles. At the heart of its titles is the company’s love of what Yak calls “lowbrow ‘kustom kulture’ and illustration”.

He’s justifiably proud to have gradually built Korero Publishing’s reputation over the past six years: “We’ve published books by such renowned contemporary artists and leading luminaries as Ron English, who blends stunning visuals with biting political statements, Patrick J. Jones, an award-winning sci-fi fantasy artist, and Derek Yaniger who has his own unique interpretation on mid-century modern graphic art.

“Our latest publication is Logo-a-gogo: Branding Pop Culture. The book is a total brick; 576 pages and packed with almost 5,000 images! It is an inspirational visual history of the iconic brand identities created by design supremo Rian Hughes over the past 20 years and includes case studies revealing the ‘making of’ his famous comic book logos – including Batman and Robin, Spider-Man, The X-Men, Captain America and Wolverine.”

One of the biggest challenges for Yak is fighting for media attention faced with the dominance of a few very big publishers and other competition in the guise of video games, film streaming services and social media.

“It’s a crowded marketplace but we have built a loyal network of customers,” explains Yak. “We have become known as a brand that publishes particular types of work. Basically, this translates into only publishing what we really love and by far the best part of running this business is having the chance to work with and support top artists.

“I’m just amazed at the talent out there and I’ve met some great people.”

According to Yak, 2019 is shaping up to be Korero’s busiest yet with some exciting new projects planned, including its first graphic novel.

“At present most of our sales come from North America. A lot of people are surprised to find out we are from the UK. Our plan is to work to expand our domestic market and get more local recognition.”

For more information about Korero Press:

Visit koreropress.com

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