Nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed according to the law of conservation of mass, but this principle does not only concern chemical reactions. In fact, it seems that the world of toys is experiencing a phase of change, or rather of adaptation to the new demands of the market, such as greater environmental sustainability throughout the entire life cycle of the product, but also of lighter and more efficient business models in line with a rapidly growing society. In this article we return to talk about this topic (if you missed the last article, you can find it here) and we present you a sustainable service in the toy market.
Following a selection of TOY DESIGN Branding and Packaging works done in more that 15 years. Some of them are the result of Brand Strategy consultancies, some of them are Brands we have designed for new product lines and/or startups. In most cases they have been conceived, as we always do, in connection with the company heritage / mission on one side and what were the best opportunities to take considering customers and related mood.
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It was 1995 when Toy Story, one of the most iconic cartoons in the entire history of animated cinema, was released in theaters, with its fantastic story of a reality where toys have a life of their own, feelings and goals to achieve. You will surely remember (and if you don’t, you can re-watch the movie…I suppose you have seen it at least once) that the main antagonist of the story was a child with unkind ways, the Skinhead look and a black t-shirt with a prominent skull: Sid. This character, even with his ‘bad’ label, has always fascinated me for his maker side; in fact, his greatest occupation was that of destroying toys (often his sister’s) to create new ones by assembling parts without apparent logic, but with surprising results. So, I believe that behind Toy Rescue there is a grown Sid who understood his mistakes of youth and tried to direct his skills towards a noble purpose; Seriously, the idea of an online database of spare parts for broken toys is as simple as it is innovative and for this we have to tell you about it.
The complexity of the modern world is clear for everyone, it often displaces us, catches us unprepared and puts us in front of topics or scenarios that we don’t know how to deal with. Issues such as discrimination, marginalization, cyberbullying are on the agenda in newspapers and too frequently the protagonists of these events are the youngest because they’re fragile or naive. To counter these phenomena, Webecome was born, a service to prevent social unrest in primary school promoted by Intesa San Paolo.
One of the most common wishes in the hearts of toy designers is to create a toy that can entertain all the children in the world, or at least as many as possible. However, we know that it is not an easy challenge, not by chance designers tend to design for the average user in order to satisfy the greatest number of people…the others will adapt! But when we talk about group games, there is no worse thing than exclude someone from participating from the beginning; and if we put ourselves in the shoes of a blind or with any motor disability child this situation could happen often. But playing together becomes possible thanks to inclusive design, and this is proved by the two projects showed in this article.
As a designer I feel a sense of slight satisfaction in seeing beautiful products; if I then discover that they are not only beautiful to look at, but also easy and fun to use, well designed in all their parts, this satisfaction grows with the desire to share my reflections about it. This brief digression is to explain my state of mind when I discovered Yoto, an audio player designed for children…actually calling it audio player is a bit resizing, but let’s go one step at a time!
TOY Design Academy comes from the idea of a program open to all and from the concept that many ideas of games or toys often remain in an artisanal or private dimension. TOY Design Academy is born because I happen to talk to people who have ideas born spontaneously within educational, therapeutic, home or personal creativity contexts. But they remain there, undeveloped and undervalued, in the belief that the way to approach producers or publishers is out of reach for those who are not in the sector. And in part it is true, but in this way not only they do not bring any economic benefit to the creator / creator but, more importantly, they never reach the hands of those who could benefit from this idea. Learning to sell your ideas of games and toys is possible for anyone with talent or passion for this field and wants to make it grow and become an opportunity.
Those who already have another job that has nothing to do with toys is not uncommon for having the ability and the talent to create something playful, perhaps born with their children or grandchildren or with other children who are part of their personal life . But, listen, listen, it is above all when the ideas are born from really “played” activities that can give life to a game idea that can be sold. TOY Design Academy is born because it is the belief of some that these should remain “ideas in the drawer”. But in the drawers there is our creativity, our personal vision of the world. What if this vision was extremely new without you realizing it?
TOY Design Academy is born as an individual coaching path for those who have a passion for the game but who do not come from the field of design or licensing. The toy industry is a demanding and complex sector if you are a beginner. After more than 15 years of activity I can say that the work of ideation / invention is an activity in which the “precision of the action” is fundamental: it takes very little for an idea to be set aside, become obsolete or waste energy in an attempt to open doors that you don’t know how to open and with what approach.
There are also other training proposals that go in this direction, but they exist in the post-university training, certainly valid and that have the great advantage of giving an encyclopedic training on the training of the toy designer, also including notions of developmental psychology. , production technologies, toy safety, etc … all absolutely right for anyone who intends to do this profession professionally or work in toy companies. But what if you come from other fields? Translating ideas into earning opportunities was first a personal challenge for me, now one is a mission. I would like to allow those who are creative to reach the goal of creating a personal business on their own ideas, also in parallel with other work activities.
Here, for this reason TOY Design Academy is born, for the desire to propose a different approach, that is to start from the objective of selling one’s own ideas by supplying understandable tools and “practical” advice to reach this objective as soon as possible. I too, when I was less experienced, happened to look at the mountain and say “it’s too high”. But all the mountains, even the highest ones, are covered starting from a first step. That’s why I call it “path”. An individualized path that gives freedom to those who participate in it to carry out the work phases with their own time, skills and resources. And where the skills should be missing, support with practical and fast solutions to be able to sell your idea.
Artificial Intelligence is making giant strides and it begins to be perceived naturally also in the market of educational toys. If few months ago we talked about more or less static robots, and the discussion that ignited the most careful parents was about the amount of data that a voice assistant could steal from an unwitting child, well today we introduce you to Moxie; in addition to being the latest news in the field of AI for children, it is also proof that design serving artificial intelligence for kids can open new roads for interaction with robots.
If you believe that there’s no more room for news in the educational field, if when you think about innovation you only consider Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence and if you divide the child’s emotions into extreme happiness and hysterical crying, well after this article you’ll need to change your mind. In our relentless hunt for stimulating projects, we came across QUID+, a young Italian editorial company that represents an important innovation for the education of children and parents.
If you have always dreamed of sleep like a baby in adulthood, just know that, according to the Italian Society of Pediatrics, 25% of children under 5 years of age suffer from sleep disorders and after 6 this percentage drops around at 10-12%. These data leave little space for interpretation and tell of a widespread problem that affects first and foremost the development of children. These are some of the reasons behind the design of a sleep trainer for children.