ArtCenter to Consider What Designers Should Know About Kids

Published : Thursday, February 7, 2019 | 5:53 AM

Make no mistake, designing products for children is not kid’s play, and Pasadena’s ArtCenter College of Design will convene a Feb. 7 panel to discuss the weighty considerations that come with creating for the juvenile market.

The panel has been assembled by Krystina Castella, author of the just-released textbook, “Designing for Kids,” and is comprised of five people who contributed to the work.

The event is organized under the rubric of ArtCenter’s “Design Matters” program, whereby students can choose a minor in social innovation. “It’s all about creating social impact through design,” Castella explained in a Feb. 6 interview.

Castella is a professor of industrial design and business at ArtCenter. She put three years of work into the guidebook for design students and has drawn broader conclusions to go with the finer points to be the stuff of classroom investigation.

“One of the big questions is what are designers’ roles in designing for play? she explained. “Do we even need to design for play? Because lots of kids will just play with whatever’s around them, whether they’re just rocks and sticks and stuff like that.”

As such, Castella has looked at where designers can do the most good in terms of their work for children, such as working on program-based projects that support underprivileged children who don’t have access to the same things more fortunate kids do.

“And I have really been looking at technology and the digital divide and how we can help kids with that; how we can help nurture them and their personalities and interests with what we design,” she explained. “It’s about really getting at what we spend our time and skills on as designers.”

The panelists for Thursday’s event are: Mari Nakano, design director for New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s Office for Economic Activity; Lauren Kaye, chief officer, learning environments, Kidspace Children’s Museum; Dan Winger, a former student of Castella’s who is the design manager of digital innovation at Lego; Valerie Poliakoff Struski, executive director, Kantar Added Value; and, Alice Fung, professor, USC Roski School of Art and Design

The panel will hold forth at 7 p.m. on Feb. 7. The Location is the ArtCenter South Campus Windtunnel Gallery, 950 South Raymond Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

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