Let Kids Play
Let Kids Play
This designer-driven project is the product of a creative collaboration between fellow designer Parisa Yazdani and myself.
Studies show that by the age of two, children already understand socially constructed stereotypical gender roles. In the eyes of a young child, toys have no gender. As children begin to pick up on gender roles, toys are understood to be “girl toys” or “boy toys”. These gendered constructions set limitations in the children’s minds, informing their choices in play. It has been suggested that when children are raised in gender-neutral environments and are supported in their choices to play however they choose, they will grow up with significantly better mental and physical health than those who are raised in gendered environments.
Our goal was create a multi-faceted campaign which would become a topic of discussion. We are fascinated by the power of design to start conversations and we were determined to create a comprehensive campaign that would spark conversations among children, among parents, and among society as a whole.
Research Driven Design
Concept Creation &
Art Direction &
We designed a series of 8 20"x30" posters, which can be displayed in any order, but are meant to be be seen as a series of 3 or more. Each poster depicts a child engaged in play. Our captions assert the notion that when you "Play Free" you are ridding your environment of negative thoughts, negative feelings and negative associations. We then designed a series of 6 6"x4" postcards. Each of these postcards features one of the poster "characters" alongside the campaign's message. Additional research-based information is found on the reverse. We designed social media pages, as well as buttons and stickers to get children engaged and involved. Our colour scheme deliberately strayed away from traditional "pink" and "blue". Our treatment of type was inspired by traditional chalkboard lettering and hand painted protest signs.
Between the ages of 2-3 are when children begin identifying gender roles, and these gender roles become permanently cemented in their minds by the age of 10. For that reason, this fictional campaign is geared towards schools and daycare facilities; children need a supportive environment which includes their peers and caretakers. For this campaign to be successful, we needed participation as well as excitement. Alongside our main poster campaign, we developed series of buttons, stickers and postcards. The buttons and stickers are for the children to wear and decorate their school materials with. By doing so, they show their support to their peers. The postcards were designed as informational take-homes for parents, to educate them on the new campaign their school has adopted and the reasons for doing so. It encourages the parents to seek more information online or through their school's representative, which also gets them involved. The passing of this information from child to parent is designed to initiate conversation around this topic.
This campaign is one we are both deeply passionate about. It has opened our eyes to how thoughtful research-driven design can be, and also to all the different ways in which research drives design.