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J.P. Stokes had a cool idea — design a toy camera that could be powered by iPhones. There were several benefits: reuse old iPhones, provide kids with a much better camera than existing toy cameras and give kids easy access to companion apps. J.P. had worked with a couple of designers on the camera design and packaging but in focus groups, people weren't understanding how the product worked without a lot of explanation.

I put together a few concept boards and interviewed half a dozen moms and their kids. The first surprise was that the kids were more drawn to the iPhone than the toy cameras. Secondly, when the moms scanned our concept boards, they'd stop on a simple diagram built with clip art and say, "Oh, that's cool,"confirming that they understood how the product worked. The $12 clip art in our diagram sold the concept instantly!

We redesigned the camera to make it feel more real and less like a plastic toy. I also recommended the client change the product name from Pixl (his company name) to Pixlplay so that he could easily name a future family of products.


The sample point-of-purchase poster below demonstrates how we solved his messaging problem and established a foundation for his brand look and feel. The new camera design and branding enabled JP to get his first large order with Barnes & Noble and start production of his product!

ages 4+


turn your iPhone

into a kids’ camera

The goal of the Pixlplay camera is to make learning fun and interactive. The first application we conceived was an alphabet learning tool. The camera comes with alphabet cards of images for kids to find and shoot. The photos could then be uploaded and shared with other pixlplayers on the app.




a   b   c

Edward D.

Jenna R.


e   f   g





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