Toy Design: A Methodological Perspective

By Sónia A. Fernandes and Denis A. Coelho.

Published by The International Journal of Designed Objects

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper seeks to create a point of connection between education for sustainability and best practices of eco-design, devising a methodology that can be used in the production of new playful and educational objects. A literature review was conducted to survey the state of the art within the themes of education for sustainability, ecological design of toys, and methodologies of sustainable design. The paper also presents results from a methodological level, as a product of the review of existing methodologies, their analysis and their combination, and improvement. Thus, methods to guide the process of designing toys are proposed. This paper presents a proposed methodology for the design of toys aimed at education of environmental sustainability and promoting ecological awareness in kids. Due to the absence of methodologies reported in the literature for the design of toys, the authors chose to develop a new methodology for this purpose based on general methodologies for systematic design, and including the phases of psycho-social and emotional development of children. The results that lie in the sphere of object design were attained by carrying out the design of two playful objects, following the methodologies proposed, which resulted in a draft for an environmentally friendly toy design for 1–2 years and a draft toy design for 3–5 years, meant to promote education of sustainability and environmental awareness. An empirical survey is proposed for the future, resorting to data collection through questionnaires, which may give rise to the creation of empirical models relating the properties of the objects created with the subjective impressions of parents and friends of the users. One may determine in future studies whether the methodology proposed and implemented, giving rise to the design of the toys that were produced, is effective vis-a-vis the objectives that guided the creation of such methodologies.

Keywords: Sustainable Development, Environmental Sustainability, Eco-design, Education, Toy Design, Design Methodology

The International Journal of Designed Objects, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.51-64. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 538.896KB).

Sónia A. Fernandes

Industrial Design Engineering Program, Universidade Da Beira Interior, Covilha, Portugal

Sónia Agosto Fernandes is an industrial designer. She graduated in 2008 from Universidade da Beira Interior. She is keen on arts, as well as interior design and has a special interest in the design of toys and products for children. Upon concluding her initial studies in industrial design, she pursued a Master of Science in industrial design engineering from Universidade da Beira Interior.

Prof. Denis A. Coelho

Assistant Professor, Tenured, Technological Industrial Design Program, Department of Electromechanical Engineering, Universidade Da Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal

Denis A. Coelho has been responsible for the creation and development of an entirely new program of studies in industrial design (undergraduate studies leading to a Bachelor’s degree) and Technological Industrial Design Masters program at the University of Beira Interio. He also designed and helped design post-secondary programs of studies including multimedia product development, E-commerce web applications, and multimedia web applications. As a mechanical engineer with an ergonomic design and production management post-graduate education, his research has focused in several areas, including car seat comfort (ergonomic design), management systems in small and medium enterprises, as well as providing a contribution to the advancement of ergonomic design methods. He has also participated and coordinated multimedia design projects, focusing on the application of ergonomic guidelines at both the conceptual and application level. His international exposure has included research performed in collaboration with Swedish and US universities, applied to the automotive and health care sectors.