PRODUCT DESIGN FOR CHILDREN

Translating a Museum Experience into a Consumer Product - Smithsonian Lemelson Centers Spark Lab

Translating a Museum Experience into Consumer Product - Smithsonian Lemelson Center’ Spark Lab

During the data collection phase of the Smithsonian Spark lab Invention Kits developed for Faber-Castell, Creativity for Kids, I visited the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation with the goal of creative ethnographic research at the centers Spark Lab. 

The Lemelson Hall of Invention and Innovation

The Lemelson Hall of Invention and Innovation

( Spark!Lab is where museum visitors become inventors. The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation invites children between the ages of 6 and 12 to create, collaborate, explore, test, experiment, and invent. Activities for children and families incorporate traditional science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with art, museum, and creativity.) 

I would spend time observing the exhibitions visitors, who were families of small children with parents or guardians, who moved through the self-guided activities. Each station presented the opportunity for a child to engage in a stage of the invention process.

The goal for the product development team was how to best represent this exhibition as a boxed STEM activity. As the exhibition had no plug-and-play style guide, my team would need to develop the brand style guide and packaging systems which would capture the aesthetics. The time spent in the space during this visit provided the content for the team to kick off the ideation process.

The program’s goal was to feature several skus for a strong planogram presence, and this initial visit was the beginning of the process to determine how many SKUS was the right balance to represent the experience and fulfill the requirements of the licensing agreement that we needed to structure. 

The end result was a program featuring 8 STEM / STEAM Activity Kits.

Concept pitch of Spark Lab to Buyers at Dallas Toy Preview

Concept pitch of Spark Lab to Buyers at Dallas Toy Preview

Handmade Box Prototypes and product samples - first presentation of concepts to Buyers at the Dallas Toy Preview

Handmade Box Prototypes and product samples - first presentation of concepts to Buyers at the Dallas Toy Preview




















China Counterfeits & Knock-Offs

During my last visit to China to tour factories for a client, I stumbled upon this disembowled Sequin Pet in their showroom.

Clear that this vendor purchased a sample, and dissected it to understand the design. I’m more than certain this vendor also prepared a “copy”.  They were slightly mortified when I shared with them that I was the original creator.  

Not only did this vendor copy this particular design, but they had copied a wide assortment of products developed by my former PD team at Faber-Castell Creativity for Kids. Disheartening but a fact of PD and Design. Unless a brand is actively defending IP, expect to see brilliant design copied, and copied fast.

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