By Sam Dumont - Founder & Creative Director of Atissu. Graphic designer, wannabe illustrator and believer that even ‘everyday’ products should be lovely.
We parents are so lucky today with the choice of beautifully stylish, and let’s face it, cool designs that we can fill our children’s rooms and lives with. We no longer have to compromise on our own aesthetic style when buying a variety of things for our children. Simple, graphic, yet charming contemporary designs are becoming more commonplace.
It wasn’t long ago that pastel colours were standard fare for newborns. Today the new, contemporary children’s brands feature some wonderful graphic designs that are loved by babies, children and their design-conscious parents.
It isn’t all about aesthetics however. This wave of simple, bold graphic design is really beneficial for babies, and especially newborns. Just after birth, very young babies only see high contrasting colours, with black and white being the best.
Creators of educational apps HuggaMind confirm that bold, high contrast design is good for babies’ brains. They state “there is a lot going on in a new-born baby’s world, and their brains can become completely overwhelmed. High contrast shapes and patterns provide the baby with something simple and engaging to focus on, and in this focus – or intense concentration – they can allow their minds to rest.” High contrast shapes might seem a little obvious to us but they are designed to hold babies' attention.
When my own son was born just 8 years ago choice was limited. When discovering US based brand Wee Gallery I was thrilled and delighted with their modern nursery decals. Infact, it was their son’s birth that was the inspiration for their business.
They learnt that newborns can only see 12 to 15 inches away, and that babies are most taken with their parents’ faces and with black and white geometric figures. Experimenting with the latter idea, they launched Wee Gallery.
Surya, the co-founder of Wee Gallery, and a graphic designer, notes that they discovered that babies develop in so many ways during the first 5 years that it dwarfs everything they learn over the entire rest of their lives.
The Wee Gallery’s animal Art Cards for Baby were a big hit with their own baby son. As he got a little older and his motor skills started to develop, he continued to be entertained and engaged by them.
Surya says “When we told him stories for each animal he would listen, then look and turn the card, and then turn the card again. As he approached one he would carry them around and give them to us asking for a story.”
Nor-Folk is another graphic design-led lifestyle brand that has a beautifully bold and simple aesthetic. Founded by husband-and-wife graphic designers Bobby and Fiona Burrage just over 2 years ago, their designs are fast becoming icons of our time.
Nor-Folk only create and sell products that they love and want in their lives. “We passionately adhere to the sentiment ‘less is more’ and ‘quality over quantity’ in our product creation” say Nor-Folk.
I launched my own brand Atissu in 2015. My aim is to create a range of beautifully designed ‘everyday’ products with high design values. Practical products, that had previously been overlooked, and can now sit proudly in contemporary homes or nurseries.
Our first range of products is boxed tissues. I created bold, contemporary designs simple enough for the youngest babies to enjoy, yet credible and relevant for older children and parents. I searched for the perfect ‘cool yet cute’ animal illustrations, and was thrilled to discover Loopzart. What I love most about their animal faces is that they use very minimal shapes and colours to create immediately recognizable animals.
Koala and Fox are my personal favourites, and children love to tell me which animal they like the best. The very little ones love to look at the faces and to guess the animal. My own son still likes to turn the box around every so often so that the different animals take it in turns to face forward.
There are now 16 different animal faces in the range, which one is your favourite?