Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

All work and no play makes Jack a dull designer: the social benefits of play to toy design

Thomas, V. (2012) All work and no play makes Jack a dull designer: the social benefits of play to toy design. Paper presented to: Design History Society Annual Conference: The Material Culture of Sport, University of Brighton, 13-15 September 2012. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Abstract: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull designer” focuses on the promotion of play and toy design as beneficial activities and the particular role of play in the creative design process. The idea that play is creative is key. Innovation in toys and playthings such as Frisbees and the introduction of the India-rubber ball have led to new sports and significant changes in how existing games are played. Designers and theorists have appreciated the benefits of play on creativity and have designed toys and activities that stimulate the imagination. In the history of design the notion of play and sport as being beneficial to creativity and generating “good” design, reoccur throughout the twentieth century, often linked to Modernism and social changes in the interwar decades. Today the creative aspects of play, games and sport are being explored and developed for all age groups. Manufacturers are creating new games activities. Sport and the leisure industry are growth areas in the economy. Toys and games are not sold to children but to adults. At the University of Northampton we are encouraging play amongst undergraduates through live projects with manufacturers and charities. Design research organisations in Spain are seeing the value of play and games for senior citizens and care home residents. In the nineteenth century good employers provided sports grounds and in our era Internet firms like Google are using less organized forms of play in the work place, to encourage productivity and new concept development. Market research organizations are using play to test out products and understand better how people interact with new technology. Playing the game benefits the economy and product development and for many it continues to be seen as leading a better quality of life and well-designed products. It is argued in this paper that playing of all kinds is a creative social process and that it is vital for designers trying to develop better products that far from dull.
Uncontrolled Keywords: play, toy, sport, creativity, Vicki Battle, Battle
Subjects: T Technology > TS Manufactures > TS2301.T7 Toys
T Technology > TS Manufactures > TS155 Production management. Operations management > TS171 Industrial art and design
Creators: Thomas, Vicki
Northamptonshire and East Midlands: Education, Training and Skills
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Centre > China and Emerging Economies Centre
Research Centres > China and Emerging Economies Centre

Faculties > Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology > Design & Photography
Date: September 2012
Date Type: Presentation
Event Title: Design History Society Annual Conference: The Material Culture of Sport
Event Dates: 13-15 September 2012
Event Location: University of Brighton
Event Type: Conference
Language: English
Status: Unpublished

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