Final Blog Post- Reflection of the Semester and the Showcase

The last three months have been quite a wild ride leading up to the Design Showcase! We packed an enormous amount of work into this short time period making a sense of accomplishment mixed with a sense of frustration all semester.  In the beginning, Amy told us that they are trying to prepare us to move quicker, doing more in less time. I think we all have grown as designers in that regard and I know that I have personally learned a new lesson in time management. 

My struggle with time management happened this semester for a few different reasons. In my opinion, we spent too much time on research. The first month of this project was a very different feeling than the last two. In the beginning, everything felt paced out and very manageable then once month two approached I felt like I was hit with a ton of bricks and that feeling didn’t stop until the semester was over. If I were to do this all over again I would have started doing more with the physical product earlier. Making the product held me back a lot of the time from meeting other project deadlines. My product in particular had quite a few components so, that consumed me up until the very end. 

Once that hustle came to an end, the actual showcase was upon us. I was pretty nervous because I felt like we were being judged not only by the scholarship judges, but there were so many important people from the design world at our show looking for potential talent. At that moment, I wished we could have had more time to really polish our projects! Once we got started giving our pitches though, the night got a lot easier. It took a few pitches to figure out what the most important aspects to tell people were. After doing my pitch to Mitch Markussen of BVK, he told me to focus on certain areas of my pitch rather than others. He also mentioned what he felt I had left out in my pitch. That was very helpful as the night went on. 

I thought it was an awesome opportunity to be able to try and get scholarships, however the judging process could be refined a little bit. The first round of judges were pretty much done talking to the students when it was finally announced that they should get started. It was really awkward for the students and judges and being someone in round 2, we stood in front of our stuff for a good half hour doing nothing while we waited for the judges. The other thing I would change would be when the scholarships should be announced. The mix of hearing thank-yous, hearing the scholarship winners and listening to Ken Hanson speak was incredibly long. Many of the people I invited had commentary about that and I personally thought it took away a lot of time that could have been spent pitching and meeting more people. I would save that all for the very end of the show next time. 

In the end, I was able to meet a good handful of people and it felt good to have people interested in something I had worked so hard to accomplish. One person I really connected with was a woman who was a dietitian and it felt good that she found value in my product as it was about encouraging healthy eating. Though there were aspects about this semester that I would change, it feels good to show friends, family and members of the design community what we have been working at for the last three months.

Final Infographic

Final Infographic

In progress infographic

In progress infographic

Gnhomes Brand Guidelines 

Product components starting to come to life #gnhomes #recycledcrayons

a look into my infographic via illustrator mess #process

a look into my infographic via illustrator mess #process

Series/Episode Brief


Format: Product Demo

Series Title:Intro to Gnhomes

Logline: Series introduces the possibilities of Gardening, show’s how easy it can be with Gnhomes then shows the possibilities of each product. (How many recipe’s can you make from a Tomato?)

Structure: Each episode will feature a new seed/Gnhome kit, showing it’s possibilities and showing that it’s kid approved.

Series Overview: Each episode will draw the audience in by showing something that can come from the garden. For instance, dipping a chip into a bowl of salsa or carving a pumpkin. It will then show Gnhomes in action weather that is through an appearance from the main characters via illustration or an actual child in the garden playing with Gnhomes. In the end it will all come together showing excitement that kids can do this and they think it’s cool.

Intended Audience: 4-9 year olds that will ask their parent’s to buy them Gnhomes. Parent’s are a secondary audience.

The Message: I want kids to see that gardening is an achievable goal for them. I also want to sell them on my product and collecting all the pieces to make their own garden. I want them to want all the different kits to make the best garden they can and have the best Gnhome world they can to play with.

The Cast of Characters: Kids 4-9, at least two to confirm with each other that they need Gnhomes, ideally a boy and a girl. Illustrated main characters (they don’t have names yet). Potentially a parent (mom).

Anticipated Number of Episodes: 1 video pitch, then an episode for each Gnhome kit.



Episode #: 1 video pitch.

Episode Name:Intro to Gnhomes

Episode Logline:Collect Gnhomes for a garden adventure!

Story: Child sees what they can do with a garden. Child sees how they can do it with Gnhomes. Child wants to collect all the Gnhomes. Child confirms with other children that Gnhomes is “awesome!”

The Hero:4-9 year old

Heroes Goal or Quest:The 4-9 year old who can learn to garden and learn from the garden.

Obstacles for Hero to Overcome: Learning how to garden through the use of Gnhomes. (Learning something new that they have never done before)

Lessons and Celebration: It’s easy to garden! You can make delicious and healthy recipes from your garden and collect an entire world of Gnhomes! 

20 Storytelling Questions

1. What are your goals or marketing objectives?

My goals are to stand out at a gardening product, from other gardening products out there. I want my product to come across as a product that is fun and collectable where kids age 4-9 want to collect every Gnhomes kit and parent’s are okay with it because it’s a healthy activity. I really want to drive home the idea that this is a fun kit that doesn’t require a child to use screen time to enjoy my product, it will get kids outside and getting excited about healthy food production and gardening. This kit is a healthy activity (gardening) that leads to more healthy activities (cooking healthy foods/canning) that can be completed with family and can be a means of quality time. 

2. Who are your target audiences?

Ultimately parents of children age 4-9 are my target audience and the children are the end user. I want this product to be something the target audience would buy as a gift for their children or for other children or purchase as a fun activity that engages their children or other children to learn how to garden or get interested in gardening.

3. What sort of content does your audience find useful or entertaining?

My audience is looking for healthy toy options/activities for their children and their children’s friends. They want children today to see an importance of being outside and engaging in an activity that is healthy and will benefit them in the long run. An anti-screen time option for their children is content they find useful. Gardening, healthy eating, and quality time spent with family is content they find important and entertaining.

4. How would you like to affect the social media conversation (e.g. what would you like people to be saying about you)?

I want the social media world to see my product as a popular toy that’s on every kids wishlist, but also one that parent’s approve of. Many gardening products/educational toys are not sold on a scale that is comparable to Polly Pocket, Pokemon, Furby, Tickle-Me-Elmo, etc. I want to be heard on social media and I don’t want to be a product that is shoved on a “Learning Shop” shelf as another generic educational toy. I want this to be like “Skylanders” where parents are online asking each other where they can find their children’s favorite characters or sharing ideas of how they engaged with this product with their children.

5. Are there any current consumer impressions that you want to capitalize on, challenge or overcome?

I don’t want this to be another generic gardening kit that is only found online or found as filler on the toy store shelves. This is a desired product that kids want to collect (like Pokemon) and not something that grandma bought her grandchildren for Christmas because she doesn’t know what the popular toys are so she opted for a generic healthy option. I want to bridge the gap between educational toys and non-educational toys that get a lot of hype. For instance, every child wanted a Furby for Christmas in the late 90s, but Furby really has no educational value. I want Gnhomes to be on that want list for kids because it’ popular, but also on the want list for parent’s/grandparent’s when they are buying for their kids because it’s educational.

6. How would you define the brand experience the media should convey?

I want Gnhomes to be a product that children see a value in and want to put on their wishlist. I want their experience to be one where they want to figure out how they can collect all the kits, so that they can have a collection of kits to play with. I want Parent’s to see the brand as something they don’t mind buying (even if it’s in the form of many different kits) because it’s healthy and it’s a way they can engage with their kids. I want the media to advertise to kids like the toy commercials do on Disney and Nickelodeon, but still have an appeal to parents because of it’s value. Leapfrog is a great example of how I would like my product to be conveyed. 

7. Is there any relevant background information, history or other issues relating to your product or brand that you would like to share with us?

Gardening is something that is old. I want to bring it to life in the way the DIY phenomenon is happening where everything old is new again. Old hobbies are becoming popular again such as knitting; I want gardening to make that kind of come back.

8. Is there any market research you’d like to share with us?

The only market research I have was collected prior to this project; I watched a 4 year old get interested in gardening and trying new vegetables when her family started a garden this summer. She would light up when she would see changes in “her” garden and wanted to help make the garden grow after seeing results.  

9. To what extent are you seeking a measurable action on the part of your customers vs. an overall branding experience?

I think it would be a measurable action just to see a gardening product pick up the attention of kids as something they desire to have. Many kids don’t want the toys with educational value. I want my brand to be something they are attracted to and I want it to be something that they are drawn to because of the bright and fun packaging.

10. If you are looking for a measurable action, what sort? Making a purchase? Requesting a catalog? Subscribing to your email list?

I want to be purchased.  I don’t really see this as an e-mail subscription or being in a catalog.

11. Where will the media be placed? Your corporate web site? Social networks? Video sharing sites (such as YouTube)? Podcasts? DVDs?

I will need to cover all my bases with media. I want to have a product website, be on facebook, twitter, and I want people to share their own experiences with youtube. I would like to advertise throughout the web.

12. Do you currently use video on your site or for social media marketing social media? If so, how?

I think it would be great to show children and parent’s using this product through video and sometimes that’s a way of showing kids the potential the product has. For instance, a child dipping into a bowl of salsa than showing that all the ingredients came from their own garden that they harvested with their parents.

13. Do you plan on doing any paid advertising or paid PR to draw attention to this media?

In the first stages, no. I think there are plenty of ways to advertise for free to get the ball rolling before paying lots of money to advertise on facebook or youtube.

14. What social media and e-mail assets do you currently possess?


15. Is there any specific data or metrics that you would like us to collect or measure?

I think it would be great to measure how children collect gnhomes. Do they buy the starter kit and stop there or is there a drive to collect all the Gnhomes kits? How does my product compare to other toys that involve collecting (Pokemon, Skylanders, Barbie, etc)? What traits can be observed from those toys and applied to my product?

16. Are there any existing marketing partners (advertising agencies, social media marketing firms, PR groups) that we may collaborate with?


17. Do you have any unique assets or attributes that we might wish to utilize in this project?

I want to show my illustration skills.

18. Are there any video campaigns that you want to share as a reference?

I would like to tell a story through illustration like this video:


I would like to focus on what my product can do in a visual way like this video:

19. Are there any mandatories or legal issues of which we should be aware?


20. Are there any stories about your company that you think would be well suited to documentary storytelling?

My own experiences with my interest in gardening and eating healthy might be one story to tell.