My favourite part of any design project is the sketching – especially the messy, raw and unrefined one’s you do on the packed train home while the rest of the carriage scrolls down their phone with blank expressions. My initial ideas came from the idea of the toy possibly being some sort of therapeutic item, and so I first created wooden models that mimicked squeezy putty in a frozen form. I thought the user may find if comfortable to fit their fingers, palm and hand into the right position as if they were squeezing the putty.
We, as a group had considered making the toy as a statement piece and this thought inspired the next design. This game was a puzzle of sorts that would a set of pieces fit in one way which would be defined as the 'norm' and thinking inside the box. However, the aim of the game would be to see how many combinations could be made on the outside of the box in a certain amount of time. The game would be teaching the user to think outside the box and not follow any rules or constraints when it comes to creavitity.
As one of our toy credentials is 'guilt-free' the next design focused on this factor and played on the oxymoronic term of a guilty pleasure. Food is often the main example of a guilty pleasure, usually something fat-fill and unhealthy, but food an important part of our lives whether it be our religion, ethics or medical well-being. The freefrom musical instruments was based off the term 'don't play with your food'. It had a series of different wooden instruments that were made to look like foods that people do not eat. Whether it be the wooden egg for vegans and egg allergy suffers, the pig's tail rattle for the vegetarians, vegans, and followers of Islam and Judaism who do not eat pork or the grain filled rattle for the coeliacs and gluten-free individuals, the toys were playing on irony that they are foods people avoid yet they are happily making music and playing with them.
I researched further into what pleasure was defined at, looking at studies based on it, the biological and neurological aspect. as well as different cultures interpretations.
I created a series of wooden toys based off the primary rewards for survival: water and liquids, food, romantic love and sex and nurturing children.
Our final concept was inspired by the simple toys we had played with as experimentation in a building block like fashion, but rather than simply reinventing an old toy we looked into combining two classics: building blocks and a spinning top. The final design was a spinning top that could have pieces stacked on top to create a different design each time. When the design had been created, the final step was to see if it would sucessfully spin on top. The fun would be in experimenting, finding creative solutions and the anticipation of seeing the final design spin.
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