Keeping children occupied is important. Without something to paw at, drool over, or shove into a VHS player – we assume they still do the latter, at least – youngsters can get antsy, irritable and occasionally a little annoying. Books are good for this, and tablets can be handy too – after all, it seems that children the world over can’t get enough of those hyper-creepy, algorithmically-generated experiments into uncanny valley weirdness that take up the bulk of YouTube these days. Oh, and toys, toys work, too. Honestly, it really isn’t all hour long videos of perversely realistic Russian dolls diving into ball pools or whatever it is the nation’s pre-schoolers gorge on – some of them still play with toys!
It seems that the team behind the subscription service Whirli understand this. Launching today, the UK’s first subscription-based toy library allows parents to access what the company’s founder Nigel Phan describes to It’s Nice That as, “a huge shareable toy box for a fixed monthly price.”
Nigel and the Whirli squad have hired design studio Ragged Edge to create the brand’s bright and breezy visual identity, which as Ragged Edge’s co-founder Ottignon tells us, “takes inspiration from brands like Lego, Pixar, and also some of the stuff Nickelodeon is coming out with,” to create something that “felt fun and engaging for kids, while retaining the nuance and sophistication that would draw adults in.”
Max goes on to say that “we’ve been careful to make sure that – in each element of the brand – there’s something there for everyone. That led us to some unexpected combinations, and a result that feels genuinely unique,” which might be why Ragged Edge has decided to use a monospace typeface for a brand aimed at getting children engaged with the joys of toys.
For Nigel, Whirli isn’t just an exercise in realising that, actually, Action Men are quite cool. “By swapping and not shopping, a Whirli subscription provides parents much more for their money, reduces clutter, and is environmentally-friendly,” he tells us. “Our aim is to support parents in maintaining a playroom full of toys that excite their children, and ultimately makes toys fun again for both child and parent.”