Places Please™ was created by David Hartman, a graphic designer and father of two children, as an alternative to the saturation of licensed character tableware that surrounded his daughters at mealtime.
The idea for Places Please was inspired by the behavior of my daughter Olivia, a precocious 4 year old, who loves to paint, draw and make up stories.
At mealtime, I noticed she liked to play with her food - but not in a bad way. She liked to imagine her food as other things. For example, a tortilla chip became a volcano, or carrot sticks were used to build a house. Her utensils became the geometric forms of letters and numbers. Then she'd turn this into a game by asking me to guess what she had made.
I could have easily dismissed this behavior, but instead I wanted to find a way to encourage it. That is, to further develop the spontaneous ability of my daughter to look at something in a different way – to imagine something that wasn't there before, which is a basic building block of creativity.
I saw this as an opportunity for a product that could amplify this behavior by creating a graphic language that was built on abstraction, which recognizes the potential for children to see patterns in basic shapes. In building on Olivia's behavior at mealtime, I sought to create a line of tableware that would tap into a child’s desire for discovery, improvisation and creative stimulation.
Why did I create this product?
In a category filled with so many poorly designed children's products, where hyper-marketed TV and movie characters dominate, Places Please provides a simple framework which gives kids the kind of tools they need to imagine their own characters, create their own environments and build their own stories.
With Places Please, children learn to conceptualize, to associate and to make analogies; to develop their skills of observation by discovering resemblances between geometric and natural forms.
In designing this product, I sought to provide a place in Olivia's life that was creatively inspiring, where she wasn't being pushed another licensed product created to replay a pre-developed storyline from a television show.
Designed in Minneapolis, Places Please tableware is made from food safe, dishwasher safe, BPA-free melamine, and comes in four different animal sets.
The sets are designed for easy mix-and-match and kids will love the spark of imaginative play that comes from the unexpected combinations of putting different animals together. Each set includes a 9" dinner plate, a 5.5" bowl and a 4" cup (not shown in photos).
Everything about this product has been carefully considered and designed, from the graphic design of the illustrations to the product design itself. Based entirely on the geometry of a circle, the proportions of the products have been designed to compliment a graphic, colorful illustration style with simple lines.
To complement these products, I also want to directly encourage kids to create their own characters, environments and animals at home with your choice of four creativity packs. Tested with my daughter and her friends, each pack includes four animal coloring sheets and one activity. They are formatted for easy printing on standard 8.5x11" pages. The shapes can be cut out easily for recombination into all sorts of other animals and stories.
These 16"x20" animal prints will look great in your child's bedroom or playroom! Pick any animal of your choice, either framed or unframed.
Support my project
If you believe in this idea, please help me reach my goal by funding the product and sharing my campaign. Even posting the link to your Facebook page or Twitter account can make a big difference.
I am seeking funds to product an initial production run of 2000 tableware sets. My Kickstarter goal of $50,000 will be used to cover the cost of manufacturing, printing decals, packaging product, shipping, taxes, fees and delivery of individual orders to you.
How Kickstarter Works
Pledge any amount and choose one of the products listed as your reward. If the total pledges meet my $50,000 goal by November 30th, 2013, credit cards for the backers will be charged and I will receive the funds to begin my initial production run.
If the funding goal is not met, no money will be charged to your account and no rewards will be provided. Remember, if don't meet my goal of $50,000 in time, I'll receive no kickstarter funding and this project will not be able to move forward.
I've completed the design phase of work, including CAD drawings, prototyping, product illustrations and packaging. Here's an overview of the remaining project milestones:
- 30 days: production of molds for plate and bowl
- 60 days: production of tableware sets
- 90 days: transport and delivery from supplier
- 3 weeks: preparing sets to be shipped
- 2 weeks: shipping product to you
It takes a village to build a brand like this. In addition to my wife, family and friends whom I constantly pestered about this project, a number of other people are the reason I'm able bring this product to you. They include: Tom, Matt, John, Kim, Aaron, Carl, Brian, Jeff, Mike, Alex, Stephanie and Hugo, Oliver, as well as the good people at BF Nelson, for their help in developing the structure for my packaging.
The soundtrack to my video is courtesy of Jahzzar, via the Free Music Archive. I encourage you to check out his other work.
Risks and challenges
My vendor partners are specializing in the supply and fabrication of melamine tableware for global clients and I've spent most of the last year working closely with them to mitigate as many risks as possible. However, I know there will still be hurdles along the way. I will always be transparent about challenges as they arise.
Some of those may include:
Shipping dates: I've built in extra time for the production and shipping process and am confident we will deliver to you by the projected dates, but there is always a chance that unforeseen circumstances will prompt me to take longer than planned.
Packaging or product changes: As I refine the design based on any additional feedback or testing, minor changes may be made. The only changes that will be made are ones that enhance the overall product experience.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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