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Guest becca

Help needed-designing for children

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Guest becca

Hi Everyone...

 

I have been given an oppotunity as a recent graduate to work on a breif for a company. I am designing a product that has to appeal to children.... (yet its not a toy) and am finding it difficult to find inspiration... after working on it for a while.. i have all the diff features and functions and am working on mainly on aesthetics and appeal.

 

How do I design for children?.. and I am looking at this product to appeal to 4-12 year olds male and female without it being toy like and gimmicky. The product also has to appeal to the parents to want to buy it for there child/children.

 

I have thought about adaptability within the product...things that can be changed aesthetiaclly and physically to keep it updated and slightly change the appearence. This idea itself I thought could be appealing for a child and be good for its marketing

 

I did think about talking to children and get there views and ideas but unfortunatly all the children are on holiday from schools and by the time I finish this initial stages of the project they will only just be going back! also I do not know any children of this age group (unfortunatly)

 

I thought maybe some of you out there have experience with designing for children and could give me some advice?!

 

This would be much apprciated as I starting to pull my hair out...designing random objects and aesthetics.

 

Thank you,

 

Rebecca

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Guest JLdesign

You may want to consider reading some books that focus on child development as inspiration. I.E., what skill groups could you help promote with a toy? Etc.

 

I have recently been working on selling a chair design of mine which I think has really strong potential for the children's market. Go to www.jl-id.com and click on the 2nd thumb nail to see it.

 

The concept was a chair that reinforced the act of sharing and gathering people together by allowing the "host" of the house or other space to remove a cushion from their "chair" and give it to their guests. In essence, I wanted the host to "share their seat" with guests. What I realized as I went along was that this would be great for children. It would be perfect for a 3-7 year old age range, especially when you used it to center it around Sunday School or pre-school story time activities. Each child could recieve their own cushion (of different shapes and colors) to sit on, as opposed to a rug or a generic foam padded mat like they normaly use for "nap time", etc.

 

I was very fortunate to have a chance to bring my prototype to my Aunt's Sunday School class. I was hoping that the children would simply acknowledge the way I intended the chair to work, and demonstrate that they understood it, but I was simply overwhelmed by how well they reacted to it! The moment the first child walked in the door he approached the chair and started to push it, like a giant ball (it is 24"x24"x26") across the floor. When another boy walked in, he got his friend to join him in pushing it as well. After that they started to run and jump onto the ball, like they would onto a couch or bed, etc. Then we finally told them what the chair was supposed to be and do, and as I had hoped, they identified with the varied colors and shapes of the cushions (saying things like "I've got a blue circle!") and seemed to stay on their own cushion during the whole story telling time. After that, they took the cushions and spread them across the room, making a game out of jumping to each cushion without hitting the carpet. Finally, they took the cushions and piled them underneath the table, like they were making a "fort". I captured all of this on videotape, and I got countless positive compliments about the chair after people viewed the videos at my Senior Show.

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Guest littlecog

There is only one way to get into the mind of a child.......sit down with a bowl of Cheerios and assorted candy and watch Nickelodean or the Cartoon Network for a week.

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Guest ron66

You can babysit my kids for a while :D

 

Serious, difficult stuff. You've been a kid yourself and observing kids in their natural habitat is key. Then still you see them act but you also have to interpret why they do things the way they do it, UNDERSTANDING why.

 

I miss a lot real good children products. Most children products are designed to be sold to parents. Then again selling products is key for a company who want to make profit. A strong concept like Lego is killed in this marketing miarad and lost its strenght. Children have eye for small things, abstract things, simple things, we adults make the world complicated, children make it simple and understanable. Children like to play endlessly with things that have been around for ages; sand, sticks, balls, blocks and eachother.

 

Cheers, Ron

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Guest littlecog

I totally agree with Ron's comment. Many toys fail becuase they are too restricted in there function. They have only one story. But if you watch children playing with a simple thing like a cardboard box it can becaome anything, a castle, a spaceship or a desert island. Unlocking this potential in a toy will ensure that children will accept it.

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Guest riaz

Get a digital camera and go visit all your friends that have kids... don't watch anything but cartoons for a week and a half... Pick up a bunch of kids magazines... and more than anything else .... Talk the kids... and then listen to why they aren't telling you.

 

- Riaz

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Guest --fff--

make a bunch of prototype and let the kids play with them also, you'll immediatly know :D but later...

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Guest ron66
I totally agree with Ron's comment. Many toys fail becuase they are too restricted in there function. They have only one story. But if you watch children playing with a simple thing like a cardboard box it can becaome anything, a castle, a spaceship or a desert island. Unlocking this potential in a toy will ensure that children will accept it.

But will parents buy it?

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Guest becca

thanks for the replys much appriciated.

 

I have put myself into the mind of children (well tryed) by watching cartoons and looking at kids magazines etc. Unfortunatly I have no family or Friends with children between the ages of 4-12 so contact with children has still been limited.

 

The product is actually a safety tracking device so its quite a serious product and has to appeal obviously to the children to wear it on their persons and use it when needed. I have looked at having more than the safty function so it can have more of a daily/fun purpose for the child too. and looked at adaptability so parts can be physiaclly adapted on the product and updated if the child gets board. Including wearing it on different areas of the body.

 

As its a safty product it must appeal to the parents to want to buy it. Also a major problem I am trying to overcome is... what if the child accidently or purposely activates the alarm sand miss-uses the product.. .so I am trying to find ways to overcome this.

 

I have developed some of my concenpts to a decent stage where I am visuallising them for a conceptual presentation in a weeks time. Also I am making models of these designs. I think at that satge I am going to contact possiably my old school and get some reaction form children.

 

i will also post these concepts when complited on the board... to get some of your reactions too.! Some of you out there I am sure are parents so that would be an added bonus... parents/designer point of view!

 

Thanks for all the advice.

 

Rebecca.x

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