I was wondering whether toy designers or those who design for children, actually work with children as part of their creative design process (as opposed to technical, standards etc…) or whether most of their insights come from secondary material (if that even)?
I am not a toy designer, but if we design a package for a product meant for kid we will test it with children. If you do not research you target market then you are designing in a vacuum, and that is not a healthy way to design. So I would have to say yes I would imagine they work with kids.
PackageIDs absolutely right. Designing without consideration of your target market isn’t a healthy way to design.
Having said that, you’d be surprised how many companies fail to recognize this. With regards to toy design, a number of indoor play companies such as Soft Play have recognized that children are no longer being considered in the design process due to the commercialization of the industry and are starting to refocus on the people the matter; the end users!
I’m sure many do, but it’s not unheard of for people to target the buyers (parents) and NOT the end users.
The kid has to want it, but if the toy and packaging aren’t parent friendly, it isn’t going to get bought.
That type of consideration exists in a lot of places where the buyer isn’t the end user. It makes for a difficult challenge especially when the goals of the two don’t align (ex a government buyer sees everything in terms of specs and price, but will often give virtually no consideration to ergonomics, size or weight because they don’t have to carry a product for 8 hours a day. See also the US Army.)
Its a good point you make. My company’s actually involved on a competition at the moment called “when i grow up i want to be…” which aims to tackle this challenge you mentioned. It aims to get kids, parents, schools and indoor play centers to inform the design process on the dream play area for children.
I suppose in the soft play industry most parties’ interests lie in the same place; the happiness of the child.