‘Less is more’ is a famous quote by the German architect Mies van der Rohe; from architecture to product design, from fashion to technology, it laid the foundations of a philosophy for which the best design result is inspired by essentiality. This phrase comes clearly into my mind like a luminous neon advertising, as soon as I started to deepen my research on Bilibo, an educational toy that stimulates imagination.
In this article we will talk about an analog STEAM toy project with a digital core for approaching children to art invented by an English start-up. Let’s start by saying that it is scientifically proven that art is good for children. Probably not new, “I always say!” you will think, but the proof of our assumptions comes from the University of Arkansas that has carried out a thorough research on a large sample of children exposed to works of art. The results show that those who have visited museums or are used to the observation of works of art develop different “soft skills” including a greater educational memory and critical thinking skills.
If you don’t know the meaning of the term influencer, you’ve probably spent the last five years (at least) in a very isolated place, which may be good, but you should know that are these figures that draw the attention of modern consumers and to which brands in every sector entrust their image. This phenomenon has spread like wildfire starting from fashion, with the various Chiara Ferragni & Co. who make the news especially because of the exorbitant cachet and their constant presence not only on social networks. It is very interesting, for the purposes of our story, to start from this fact: according to Forbes magazine, in 2017 the top 10 influencers of the fashion industry reached an audience of 31.750.000 people; if you are not amazed enough reading this number, know that their fellow children, so called baby influencers, have exceeded them widely, reaching a total of 77.4 million users. But what do these numbers mean? Let’s try to frame the situation in this article, and see how the sale of toys in the age of baby influencers changes.
Create fun and engaging experiences that improve health and lifestyle, this is the ambitious motto of ‘Games for Health‘, a Dutch project we’ll talk about in this article. Founded in 2010 by Jurriaan & Sandra van Rijswijk, this non-profit association has the task of bringing together the best minds in the development of toys and healthcare to design gaming technologies that improve people’s physical and mental conditions, as well as creating gamification for a new wellness.
This article is about a nice case study from Italy on design for autism that shows how the careful observation of the ‘state of the art’, can lead to an actualization and a useful and beneficial redesign for all the actors of a system. Blu(e) is a tablet to help autistic children to communicate and was invented by Needius, a company that deals with the design and implementation of technologies for special needs.
Get yourself comfortable and be patience to get ’till the end of this short article because today we will talk about distraction, self-control difficulties and Piks, a crowdfunding to develop children’s concentration. This game in wood and silicone has particularly intrigued us at first glance for the simplicity of the project and the effectiveness of the results that can be obtained; deepening the research then we discovered that there is much more behind these constructions.
The story of Pixel Press starts with a group of friends who was no more satisfied with just playing video games, so begin designing them. So far nothing exciting, indeed probably the majority of companies in the industry were born in this way; the difference is that Pixel Press has done so in a ‘disruptive’ way: it has made the design and creation of video games for everyone, even for a child, creating a toy to learn design thinking.
It seems that in the field of board games design there is a growing trend towards the design of politically incorrect toys that gain success. Moreover if we analyze human nature and the behavior of young and old players in front of a board, it’s not strange to confer to the unfairness their success. These games are often play with friends or acquaintances and it is easy to resort to their weaknesses to anticipate their moves or think of ‘borrowing’ a little more money from the Monopoly bank; on the other hand, the fun is also in this, and why resist the temptation to cheat even when playing together, and skipping a turn is not so serious?
Among the many innovations that have gained popularity thanks to Internet and in particular social networks there is the great charm of unboxing. To introduce you to the subject, let me bring you back in time, in two different situations, but crossing across countries and generations.