August 28, 2017

Blip Toys and WhiteBoard Product Solutions have had a 15 year history in creating dynamic products in the toy category, including the Zoom-o Launcher Series.  Blip and WhiteBoard have had success in their partnership because of their ability to work quickly through all phases of development – from early concept development, buyer feedback, to final production – in such a way that allows them to get a successful product on the shelf that sells.

In early 2016, Blip Toys and WhiteBoard decided to collaborate again when an opportunity to innovate in the construction set category became apparent.  Particularly, with the current push in childhood development and STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering, and math) toys, both Blip Toys and WhiteBoard felt it was a timely opportunity to launch a unique construction set that costs less than many competitors on the market.  By blending the familiarity of traditional wooden blocks with fun, colorful, and creative connector pieces, Smarty Parts stands out on the shelf as a fresh take on traditional building block sets.

Our team set out to meet this challenge by brainstorming ideas for connector pieces – from magnetic connectors, to hinged elbows, suction cups, bendable materials, etc.

Designers also created concepts for guided building sets – from Animals to Trucks, Landrovers to Architectural sets.

Blip Toys was able to reach an agreement with Target Corp. to exclusively sell Smarty Parts.

Smarty Parts are now sold at Target in 3 different sets – The Architect ($79.99), The Engineer ($49.99), and the Builder ($29.99).

One of our successes in collaboration is our ability to create concepts, iterate, and move through the decision-making process quickly to get great products to the shelf. From first concept to hitting the shelf – the entire development and manufacturing of the product line took less than a year. With such success already, we are excited to see how Smarty Parts continues to gain traction in the market and gain positive reviews.

Form Follows Reality™

Our Approach: Form Follows Reality™ You have heard the phrase “form follows function.” It was coined by architect Louis Sullivan in 1896 to emphasize how a building’s design should always reflect its intended purpose. It has since been adapted by product designers to guide product development. We at WhiteBoard Product Solutions believe that function is only one of the essential requirements for a truly successful product design. Our mantra is Form Follows Reality™. Form Follows Reality is rooted in the original appreciation for function, often one of the most important realities, but it also understands that there are other factors that determine the success of a product. Every project has multiple requirements, constraints and needs that must be defined to enable a product to succeed in the marketplace. These are the realities that inform the decisions that drive the design process. Form Follows Reality recognizes that function, aesthetics, cost of goods, timeline, R&D budget, tooling investment, manufacturing capabilities, distribution channels, merchandisability, and a product’s competitive environment are sometimes competing realities that need to be identified and weighed against each other to drive a project to achieve success. How does WhiteBoard do this? We collaborate with our clients to identify and rank each project’s most important realities. We listen. We question. We challenge. We ideate. We define. Once a project begins, we use those ranked realities to drive the decision-making process. And we make sure that every member of the team understands how those realities fit into the end result. That means marketers, engineers, manufacturers, and designers are all working toward the same goal from the very start of a project. Say we are designing a retail product that our client wants to sell in large quantities. Along with a variety of other factors, we will determine at the start of the design process how many units will fit on a 12-inch shelf. If reducing the size of a product or its packaging by just a fraction of an inch can make the difference between five or six products being displayed, our entire team works together to determine the most successful solution. If this collaborative approach sounds like common sense, it is. But it’s also too frequently missing in product design, where departments often operate as separate fiefdoms and lack of communication between each department can lead to late-stage changes that escalate costs and delay schedules. By following Form Follows Reality, iconic product designs can be created that not only meet or exceed our client’s needs and expectations, but succeed in the marketplace and quickly become industry standards. WhiteBoard