In this project we were tasked to design and construct a children's toy in partnership with Spin Master. The first stage was to decide upon an age range, category of toy, and gender to target. Once decided, we began research into existing toys, play patterns, current market trends, and materials/manufacturing. Through our research we found insights into how children play with toys, their favourite types of toys, toy durability, and safety.
When research was completed Loft had become a unisex building block toy for ages 3-5. The next step was to begin exploring and sketching fun and exciting toys, the focus being on fun and not necessarily feasibility. This was to ensure all creative directions were explored and imagined. Our focus on building blocks quickly turned from just a regular block to incorporating an educational aspect. We then looked into further research on how children learn at young ages. Our deciding educational factors became both shape and colour. Research into colours and what effects they have on the brain allowed us to focus our designs and incorporate another dimension of creativity. We looked into sustainable products and materials with a focus on durability.
Ideation / Concept
Loft began as a type of puzzle block designed to help kids build fine motor skills as well as improve their cognitive abilities in recognizing colour and shape. The design seen below was two types of blocks: a "male" and "female" with colour coded shapes and cut outs. The idea was to build and stack the blocks in creative and unlimited of ways. This allows the child to learn and develop subconsciously while having the time of their life creating their next dream house.
Loft then evolved further when the three dimensional challenge was presented to us. The design shifted to an all "female" block with pin-like connectors. This allowed us to keep the theme of education and development in our design without sacrificing size and form. This is the stage where "Loft" got its name as the pins were an exploration of lofting two separate shapes to one another, creating a modern and sleek design.
The final concept of Loft was further refined to incorporate just the lofted blocks. This decision was made due to a slight change and addition to the original concept theme. The idea being to create a simple and sleek block that children could still learn and explore their imagination with but also be beautiful enough that parents wouldn't mind leaving it out on the table when their kids were done playing. The idea evolved and eventually the final shape was a short wide block allowing small children's hands the ability to easily interact with.
Product Photography: Hallie Ford