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Best Design Awards 2017: Child's play

The kids are our future, and this year's Best Awards entries were a reflection of this. A common thread connecting entries across various categories was that their design was orientated at a young audience. Here are some of our favourites picks for New Zealand designed products and spaces that are aimed at the little ones.



Hi-Dimension by Bobux International (Gold Pin winner)

Category: Product – Consumer

Creative director – Sam Burton

Kids are active little creatures – they run, they climb, they crawl, they stomp their feet, they aggressively kick their shoes off. Bobux wanted to create a shoe that would be durable enough to withstand the treatment demanded of them by the little tykes. Upon discovering kids used their shoes in a similar way a high-performance athlete does, they created the Hi-Dimension shoe. It solves the issue of smelly feet, of differentiating between left and right foot, as well as being easy to manoeuvre onto a child’s squirming feet.





Kiddicare packaging redesign by Brother Design (finalist)

Category – Packaging

Creative director – Debbie Hyde

Team Members – Georgie Cox (design assistant), Ben Dean (production), Jamie Pettigrew (production), Carl Dixon (production)

Contributors – Susan Crawford (concepts, character development and nappy prints), Kim Edwards Seu Seu (toymaker)

The packaging of nappy products is usually covered with photos of joyful babies or cartoon characters, but Brother Design’s take brought a fresh illustrative approach to the category. It created a bunch of adorable plush animal characters to feature on the products, bringing a three-dimensional, realistic feel to the branding. The judges said that in the age of Photoshop and computer rendering, the designs felt real and authentic.





Hideout by Clark Bardsley (finalist)

Category – Product

Creative director – Clark Bardsley

After a gap in the market was identified for high quality, New Zealand made objects that reflect the personality of Kiwi kids, newly established company HideSeek brought Clark Bardsley on to design some furniture. Playfulness and sustainability were key concepts informing the design process, with the result being a furniture range that brings outdoor adventure into the bedroom. The Ethel hideout bed resembles an outdoor wood cabin, with a letterbox and small windows helping with make believe play, while the Hideout table and stool set creates a picnic set up indoors and has a durable laminate surface for eating and playing.




Ecostore’s ‘Mo’foam! ‘Mo’fun!’ design by Special Group (finalist)

Category – Graphic – Packaging

Creative director – Heath Low

Design director – Richard Francis

Ecostore wanted to show the imaginative, fun and empowering side of being a kid through its products aimed at kids aged two to ten, so Special Group came up with a fun and visually engaging solution. They conducted research by going straight to the source (Kids) and asking what they wanted out of a product and received insights like ‘Make sure it doesn’t taste yuk!’ The result is products that are attention-grabbing, straight to the point and speak in a language kids understand.
 



Nubo by Frost*collective (Gold Pin winner)

Category – Environmental Graphics 2017 

Creative director – Anthony Donovan

Design director – Maria Briganti

An international entry to the Best Awards, Nubo is an innovative new play centre in Sydney that set out to redefine the childcare sector. After recognizing that most play centres are loud and overstimulated, Frost*collective wanted to strip back and simplify the space while helping kids exercise their imaginations. The space features the usual ball pits, slides and art spaces, while at the same time not incorporating any clutter. The word ‘Nubo’ translates to ‘cloud’ in Esperanto, a universal language that was created in the 19th century. The cloud inspiration came from the idea that everyone sees something unique and different when they look at one. The judges said the play centre’s design and branding was “category breaking” and a “great example of clear thinking from idea, name to execution.”



The Hideaway Chair by Think and Shift (finalist)

Category – Product – Furniture

Creative director – James McNab

Design directors – James McNab, Sam Griffin

The Hideaway Chair is a piece of furniture that’s intended to give kids a comforting sense of enclosure, a place to escape from noise and chaos of their surrounding environment. In their research, the design team found kids don’t sit in the same composed way adults do. When  given the opportunity, they sit upside down, sideways, curled in a ball or snuggled up with a friend. The chair has been designed to accommodate this while being safe, comfortable and hardwearing.