“Good design principles, from day one, have the child in focus,” Peter says. “This is the most important factor in any design – the child’s development and the support of elements like curiosity, confidence and responsibility. This is what we need for the future. The world is full of challenges and sometimes we don’t leave the world to our children the way we should, but we need to prepare them for all the challenges to come.”
Other requirements for the ideal toy design include safety and cost, while following the philosophy of “form follows function”. It’s undoubtedly tough to balance these requirements; Peter tells all of Hape’s new designers, “If you’re looking for an easy job in design, don’t make toys.” But he found an effective way to manage cost early on, ensuring that Hape’s products could remain affordable.
“Many people liked my designs and concepts but manufacturing in Germany was quite costly – less cost-efficient,” he says. “From the beginning, I saw an opportunity in going to China in the early 90s. It was a good time as people in China were looking for investors – change-makers. But lately, we’ve realized that today, China may have the greatest potential in the world to become the number one market for educational products and toys.”
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