Final Major Project Beginning

It’s the beginning of the end! My final major project has started which is pretty scary but also very exciting! I can’t believe how fast these last 4 years have gone by!

The start

From my exploration project, I decided that the route I am going to follow is to create more toys for boys to encourage them into more feminine gender stereotypical roles. My tutor has been completely happy for me to go down this path and even though I may be taking a risk, I really don’t want to be doing a “safe” project. This could either go disastrously wrong or brilliantly well, so let’s hope and pray for that latter!

After speaking to Mark at the beginning of this project he suggested getting in touch with James Stephenson and Mat Kipling who both work as designers at Lego and were also previous Northumbria University Design for Industry Students. I emailed both of them –

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They have both responded positively which is really good and I am excited to get some input from these toy designers  –

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I think the help from both of them will be really beneficial when I have come up with some more substantial ideas so I have arranged to skype Mat on either the 9th/10th February and James I am waiting to hear back on about my exploration project first.

I also sent out emails to Let Toys Be Toys, Man Vs. Pink and Pink Stinks as these campaigns/blogs are all relevant to my project and it would be great to get some input from them.

Let Toys Be Toys have emailed me back which I am ecstatic about as they have given me so much feedback and also asked me to do a guest blog post about my work for them. This is such a good opportunity to get my work and opinion out there as the topic is so controversial and part of it is getting people talking about gender stereotypes in toy design.

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Starting to think about what I wanted to design

To start off my design process I decided to try and come up with some basic concepts for toys. To do this I looked at a few female gender stereotypical toys and tried to flip them to suit a more male market.

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From this task, I felt like the ideas were a bit wishy washy and not exactly good. I really struggled to generate ideas for toys and started to feel a little bit lost at this point.

On Tuesday I had a tutor meeting and after showing Mark my ideas he suggested looking into board games rather than toys. The reasoning behind this was because a toy can be interpreted as anything by a child e.g the barber kit idea which would include a hairdryer, the boy could easily use the hairdryer as a gun which then doesn’t help what I am trying to achieve. Whereas a board game involves a set of rules, the children have to play it that way so this might be an easier way to project my gender views through play.

So my next step is to start looking into board game design, look at current board games and see what works/what doesn’t, try and re-design some of these to match my topic and then brainstorm some of my own board game ideas. This is what I am going to spend the rest of this week doing so stay tuned, by Sunday night I should hopefully have some ideas and then after this I am going to make my final decision into whether I am going to do a toy or a game.

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