There is a push for better design in more and more corners of our everyday lives. The times of something being purely engineered are quickly fading as design infiltrates more corners of the market. Massive corporations are beginning to realize the power in their design departments and how creating beautiful products speaking a better language can create more productive business. Soon the “I-Generation” will be having children and throw a curve ball into the design market. So much influence to seek individuality and embrace uniqueness will be passed on to a future generation, and we are beginning to change the way we design to accommodate them.
It is in these changing times I hope design will continue to enhance the area of children’s products such as toys, clothing, strollers, etc. For so long we have subconsciously force our children to interact with products which scream “ABC, 123-obviously I need to learn something” we have almost smothered children in their own products! It is time to let this playful market breathe. It makes me so pleased to see new products in this category refreshed with clean lines, better and safer materials and using beautiful pantone palettes. Even a touch of ‘ugly’ can be beautiful, such as with the success with the Ugly Dolls stuffed figures. More designers are understanding the value of creativity in children to delight and inspire. One of my favorite up and coming companies is Boon, a Texas based company focused on creative and funky products designed not only to delight children, but also to keep playtime safer, like their Flo water deflector to be placed over bathtub faucets. The Interesting form keeps children from bumping their head while changing the flow of the water to create a wider and more playful spray. In addition, there is also a place on the top of the product to add bubbles for extra playtime enjoyment.
What does all of this amount to? I want to challenge designers to continue having fun with this area of design and understanding the changing parent-child relationship. Parents are going to demand more from us and look to us in the coming years to continue to delight their children with the objects they interact-and with people being more product-conscience than ever it couldn’t be a more exciting time.