DIPLOMA PROJECT PROPOSAL
Visual Communication Design
MY TOY FACTORY
For this project I will be working with a client, Mad Rat Games, a company based in Bangalore
focused on bringing fun to learning, for children.
BRIEF AND BACKGROUND
The project involves working with children, encouraging them to build simple toys
themselves and teaching mathematical/scientific etc. concepts through the toys.
At the primary level the project aims to propagate the "Make your own toys" ideology of Arvind
Gupta Toys. His website http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/toys.html displays a series of toys
which uses basic materials and simple techniques to build the toy. Most of the toys aim to teach
the child about a particular concept (maybe scientific, for example: centrifugal force).
I have already attended and helped at a workshop conducted by the client in Bangalore. It was
done at an experimental level to test the viability of the project.
The activities were fairly simple – a “getting to know each other” game followed by a set of toys
that the kids were taught how to make. While they made the toys the facilitator spoke of what
principle the toy worked on. Before they left, they were each given a kit, which gave them
instructions to make two toys, and provided the material for the toys. They also carried back all
the toys they made themselves during the workshop. This was to encourage them to continue the
activities at home with possible involvement from the parents.
‐ An “out of textbook” system which can be taken anywhere and initiated by anyone.
‐ The element of interactivity where the child is able to relate to something better because of
building it from scratch. A more hands‐on, learning through doing approach. This is likely to
make the experience more educative.
‐ The availability of science through toys to children at no cost.
‐ Introducing children to a more DIY culture possibly making them more independent while
learning. It could also add the element of play to most subjects.
‐ Propagation of this system through sharing the ways in which the toys can be made and what
they teach you. This would make it more available to every child, making it seem less like an
extra curricular activity and making it more a part of their everyday lives.
‐ Encouragement for the “young inventor” in children to create from scratch something they have
thought up completely themselves.
‐ Reinforcing the fun and satisfaction in working with tactile materials.
‐ The existing methods of such teaching. The relevance of the system of toys amidst these existing
‐ The point of what the child is being taught getting lost due to involvement in what he/she is
‐Parental involvement in such a system. The system working better as an extra curricular activity
(with an outside facilitator) or something more a part of daily activities.
‐ The limitations of this system with regard to different groups of children. What urban children
respond and relate to as opposed to rural children.
‐ My role as a communicator in the project. The language (visual, textual and verbal) that is best
understood and responded to by children.
APPROACH AND PROCESS
The project will begin with me understanding the already existing simple educational toys (ref:
Arvind Gupta Toys). They will need to be looked at with regard to
‐ The simple mechanical techniques that are used to build the toys / the mechanical techniques
that need to be kept in mind while creating my own set of toys.
‐ The age groups that are most receptive to these toys.
‐ The content that intended to be taught through the construction of these toys.
‐ Topics that are not touched upon through these toys. I will be compiling a list of such topics
which seem relevant (through talking to teachers who teach these age groups). This list will help
me to fix on areas that I wish to concentrate on while creating my own set of toys.
This initial research will provide the base for three directions that I will be concentrating on
through the project;
(a) Coming up with my own set of toys that teach principles / concepts that I feel are
lacking in the already existing toys. Ideation will include:
‐ Exploring areas that could be touched upon through this medium.
‐ Using simple everyday materials to ideate upon and build these toys.
It will help me look at a more hands on and experimental approach to problem solving. It will
also be challenging as a communicator to match the intent of the toy with what the child learns
from it. These toys will be tested through introducing them in the workshops that I will be
ideating upon and conducting in the second phase of the project.
(b) Creating workshop modules for these toys to be introduced to children. Research for
this will be through:
‐ Looking at the way certain extracurricular activities are conducted in and outside school for
‐ Looking at already existing workshops for children, centered around toys.
‐ Analyzing and deriving from the workshop already conducted by the client as an experiment.
‐ Looking at the market and audience for these kinds of workshops.
Through creating these modules I will be exploring the potential for such a medium being viable
for a child to learn. The workshop modules will be put to test with me being a co‐facilitator
(alongside the client).
(c) Communicative documentation of the project. This could lead to three kinds of
‐ A kit, which would contain the materials to construct the toy along with, illustrated instructions
for building it. I will be breaking down the process of building the toy into simple coherent steps,
illustrating them and providing easy‐to‐follow copy. This kit would be primarily for the children
but may call for parental involvement.
‐ A manual (which I will design) containing the workshop module along with the DIY
instructions. This would be of use to any outside teacher/parent/facilitator who may want to
conduct these sessions. It would also act as a archive for them to refer to.
‐ A publication (which I will compile, illustrate and design) driven by a narrative. The narrative
would string together scenarios where the principle/concept (taught by the toy) comes up using
characters and props (the toys themselves maybe). The DIY instructions for the toys would also
be strung into the narrative.
The audience at the primary level is the children of different age groups for whom the toys are
used as teaching tools. The kits/publication would also be directed at them.
At a secondary level, parents/educators/facilitators of such a system are the audience. The
compilation would be an archive for their reference.
I am drawn to this project due to an inherent interest of working with children and gaining some
experience in the area. As a designer, understanding the importance of the element of play, the
scope of the project is exciting. The role of a communicator in this project also opens up the
possibility of looking at the subject through the lens of a narrative where the compilation could
turn into a completely new product.