Especially when it comes to industrial design for babies’ and children’s products, three things seem important to me – because children and babies are the users, but normally not the deciders; the adults are. Thus, products for children must be designed in a way that the children are addressed and reached, that the products meet their needs. At the same time the products must appear in a way that the adults can recognise that. The products must arouse the expectation in the adult that they fulfil the needs of the users – the children. Therefore, the industrial designer for babies’ and children’s products must convey quality on several levels and do an excellent job in three fields:
First of all, use. Children are ruthless when it comes to evaluating the quality of use. An item, a toy, which no longer meets the children’s requirements is eliminated in a jiffy. The products must be useful and functional.
Aesthetics are of great importance in industrial design for babies and children. An object must be appealing, must address emotions, must arouse passion and desire. In order for this to succeed, familiar anchors are needed, known connecting factors. This is even more tricky in industrial design for baby products than in products for adults, because their scope of experience is significantly smaller. What do we stick to then? We assume that children, and especially babies, want to imitate behaviour patterns of adults. Thus, babies prefer to eat themselves with cutlery than to be fed – at least sometimes. Offering the babies a possibility to imitate the parents offers this anchor and creates familiarity also in this target group. However, the industrial designer must also be able to anticipate the need to gain experiences. Playground equipment must not only be safe, it must also simulate room for »dangerous trial and error«. »Simulate« because public objects may never be dangerous.
This leads to the third requirement which we must fulfil in industrial design: visual communication.
By appropriate design, industrial designers for babies’ and children’s products must convey the quality of the product to the deciders, thus the adults.
At the same time, the object must feature the coolness factor which is necessary for children. Or, in baby products, look »sweet« – thus, make the sweetest look even sweeter. This is a facet of communication, the conveying of use with the function as image carrier. This seamlessly leads to another facet of communication through design: the presentation of the brand. The good industrial designer will seek to develop and stick to a recognizable design vocabulary for the products of a company. Products should “smell” of a brand, thus certain “key features” make clear who the producer of the product is. Thereby, the brand of the producer, thus the client of the designer, is strengthened.
Multi-Target – the target groups in industrial design for babies and children
If you talk about optimising a product for a target group in design, then that is not enough. The target group in industrial design in babies’/children’s products is the user (the child), the decider (sometimes the child, sometimes also the adult) and the buyer (most often the adult, but sometimes also relatives or the buyers of large chains). To all these target groups – users, deciders, buyers – the product must appear comfortable and appropriate for the intended use. As the user and buyer a of babies´/child´s product is never the same person, the industrial designer is always challenged to study the products’ use. On the basis of the users’ behaviour, the buyer/decider will evaluate whether the purchase was purposeful or not. For other products it is most often the case that the buyer is at the same time the user and gains his or her experiences with it. In babies´/ children´s products that is drastically different.
In order for the product to be successful, people must be convinced that it is fantastic and ideal for someone else. In this case for the children. GP designpartners designs products which look extraordinary, create the necessary unique position on the market and are therefore desired, demanded and loved by the target group.