The designer’s job has radically changed in recent decades, it continues to evolve and receive interesting stimuli and facing challenges of global impact; we are not telling you anything new but it is good to stop sometimes and think about how our profession is closely linked to a social context and observe how it influences and is influenced by technological and human progress. I have recently made these thoughts when I discovered and deepened the project ‘Design for Children’s right guide’, or the guide to design with respect for children’s rights and to act at the core of the creative process.
When we play (or we played, that’s up to you), we are used to following instructions, opening a booklet that explains how that toy works or listening to indications, a more or less rigid path that guides us in a sequence of actions. What if all this was limiting for a child? What would happen if instead of following consequential steps, was given a final goal without caring about the route? We find out with Rigamajic, a toy without instructions that challenges different clichés related to the sphere of childhood and the toy world in general.
There’s something magical between 5 and 12 y.o. If you’ve ever chat with a child of this age, you can understand what I mean; it’s easy to be fascinated by the great imagination that develops from the post-childhood growth phase, until adolescence. What I mainly envy as a designer is the spontaneity in the invention of a game, an activity or an object totally free from economic or functional limits. It is no coincidence that different techniques for generating ideas, such as brainstorming, encourage to become child again, to free the flow of thoughts from any productive or practical constraint, on the assumption that there are no wrong ideas, to become little inventors for huge ideas.
Innovation in the toy world can born in many ways, with a new material, a new technology or ideas out of the ordinary. Sometimes happens that the difference starts from a strategy, a series of choices and actions that leads a company to position on a different level than its competitors. This is the case of Sago mini, a toy designers studio, a place of contamination but above all a company, a brand that deals with designing a storytelling through digital and physical game for preschool children. This Canadian reality is particularly interesting for the wide approach to the project and for the business planning that has carried out from 2013 to today.
Dinosaurs have always been one of the favorite topics of children of all times, we have all been fascinated (maybe we still are) and we have owned at least one puppet. To confirm this statement there are also scientific bases that confirm that almost one child in three has an immeasurable interest in this subject. The academics of the University of Virginia have also found that in children interested in dinosaurs there is a higher threshold of attention and greater capacity to process information, mainly because they read a lot about it and try to deepen their knowledge to expand the possibilities of play. Today we present Dino, a dinosaur toy that helps you learn.
‘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.