The Shapeless Shape is a seemingly simple story about a world of shapes where circles, squares, and rectangles go to school to learn what they can become.
But there is one shape — a shapeless shape — that just doesn’t fit.
This is the story of the Shapeless Shape's journey, and a struggle we all experience from childhood to adulthood: the challenge of finding a place where our talents, uniqueness, and creativity can shine.
The book has been crafted with love by imaginative educators, artists, designers, and entrepreneurs.
Victor Saad is an author, educator, and founder of Experience Institute, a Chicago-based education company helping college students & career professionals learn through real-world experiences.
David Kelley is a father, maker, founder of IDEO, a global design consultancy, and founder of the Stanford d.school.
We first bonded over a shared interest in helping students flourish. We began working together on this book because we wanted to make something that would spark conversations about the way we all design our paths, grow our creativity, and find our place.
Over the past two years, we've shared Skype calls and in-person work sessions. We've been writing (and re-writing) the book, prototyping illustrations, and testing the concept with kids and adults of all backgrounds.
The story and illustrations reflect our spirit of playful making. It embodies our beliefs that everyone has a place, that the world is a classroom, and life's challenges are opportunities for discovery and innovation.
To bring the story to life, our friend and Spanish artist, Edu Vea (NosE) chose to use real wooden pieces to illustrate each page. After designing and testing the idea, we worked alongside Matthew Hoffman to produce the shapes in his workshop. Then we went to Daniel Kelleghan's studio to photograph each scene. Finally, our talented friends at Grip laid out the entire book, finding the perfect place for every word and every shape.
The handcrafted wooden shapes show minor imperfections and oddities, a reminder that big ideas can be expressed with simple materials, and that everybody of every shape has something unique to contribute.
We couldn't be more proud to see the book finally ready to find its own place in your home, office, or classroom!
The story explores an exciting world made from simple circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles. Young audiences will have fun hunting for familiar shapes in the book's playful illustrations. We wanted to show how basic elements combine to create buildings and landscapes, characters and obstacles. We hope readers find the style both inviting and inspiring.
Our main character defies categories and labels, inviting readers to wonder: What is that shape anyway? What do we call it? Does it have a gender? A pronoun? The book uses shapelessness to explore the challenges and opportunities that come with being different. We wanted to create a playful celebration of individuality.
We've kept this very simple to keep the book affordable and sharable and give everyone the opportunity to be part of bringing this project to production. You can order 1, 2, 3, 5, or 10 copies of the hardback version of The Shapeless Shape at a rate that will only be available to Kickstarter backers. Also, domestic shipping is on us for single copies.
Ever since the beginning, The Shapeless Shape has been about community. The story began with two friends focused on education and innovation, and it slowly expanded to a team of writers and makers interested in spreading a positive message. Kickstarter allows us to organically expand that community — inviting kids, parents, educators, creators, designers, and writers of all sorts to be the very first to see this story and spread the message. This is our way of staying true to how we began — a community of friends who believe everyone has a place.
- Writing: 2015-2017
- Editing: March - June
- Making: June - August
- Design & Layout: August - September
- Kickstarter: September 19 - October 19
- Production & Printing: October - November
- Shipping to YOU: December 1
- Illustration: Edu Vea (NosE)
- Shape Maker: Matthew Hoffman
- Photography: Daniel Kelleghan
- Book Layout & Website: Grip
- File Prep: Manuel Torres
- Advisor: Sandra Feder
- Editor: Michael Lawrence
- Organizer: Christina Segeler
- Communications: Debbe Stern
- Campaign Design: William Ferguson
- Kickstarter Video: Ben Derico / Sidekick Video
Special thanks to the families who tested the story with their awesome kids: Dustin Henderlong, Dannon Loveland, Aaron Wilson-Ahlstrom, Beth Swanson, Amie Curioso Silo, Nina Church, Katie Crain, & Andrew Unger.
Risks and challenges
We've kept the project very simple to minimize delays. We've worked with our manufacturer on previous projects and we have a great working relationship.
With the holidays fast approaching, there is always a chance that we hit a snag and miss our deadline. However, the book is completely written and designed. The files are already in the hands of the printer and we're corresponding about the very last details. All we need is you!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)