8 reasons why we opted for simplicity
So, what's up with our plain and simple design approach?
Simply put, we believe it is empowering. We've put together these 8 reasons for why we think simplicity is - at least part of - what today’s kids need.
1. Simplicity breeds focus
We've heard for some time now that kids consume content in different ways, able to jump from here to there, taking in little nuggets for a few seconds before they’re off to view a new experience. We’re all kind of like that now. But we needed to take a different approach for what it is that we, in particular, do.
When we started Furious Think, it was important to us that kids could easily focus on and digest the content of our books. The clutter-free, no-bells-and-whistles design helps us achieve this. There’s nothing frenetic about our pages. The eye knows where to look. Kids have little choice but to focus on the task, which in our case is less about consuming and more about thinking.
2. The more thinkers the better
Our pages are neutral when it comes to age, gender and style. That way we can appeal to a wide variety of kids – and when it comes to what we do here (a lot of critical thinking), the more who do it, the better off the world will be.
3. A diversity of imagination will save us all. Maybe
Because we also deal in creative thinking and storytelling, we specifically want to allow kids to make these books their own, personalizing the pages with whatever style or story they want. We don’t want to get in the way of this process, or to unwittingly limit it with a built-in, implacable aesthetic.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but for what we're doing, the leaner the page the more creativity it can encourage.
Is it a stretch too far to say this freedom can help fortify and diversify our collective imagination, prevent group think, encourage the next great thinkers who together will solve the world’s problems? Probably, yes. But, we can try.
4. We want our books to be used
There are some incredible-looking activity books out there, and we looovvve a lot of them! But sometimes it’s all so perfectly designed that kids hesitate to really use them.
Our inspiration comes from books that are all scrawled up with notes, doodles and sketches – like the kind you see in the movies carried by independent-type thinkers whose once-mocked ideas help save the world at the last minute.
So we want to add our simplicity concept into the wider activity books mix out there, and that way you have options. When it comes to our books, it's okay, the spines will get cracked and (fingers crossed) crumbs will get stuck into and onto the pages. And that’s actually pretty much us in a nutshell. We're messy.
As we progress, we hope to be able to inundate you with more critical and creative thinking options because kids should think more not less. By stripping down the design approach we can get materials through production faster and with less cost. That means you and your kids will always have ongoing resources to choose from. Their growing brains can always be active. Yay!
6. Too much convenience breeds inertia
If our books could talk to kids they might say something sassy yet wise like, Look, not everything is going to be done for you – sometimes you have to think and do for yourself. Sometimes you have to make something out of nothing.
To us, these clichés are the prerequisites of innovation and the mindset needed for the future, and when possible we let them guide our approach.
7. We want to keep our carbon footprint down
This one’s practical. We want to print our books in Canada, not overseas. To achieve this, limiting printing costs is crucial. We do this by having the inside pages be black and white, avoiding unnecessary fluff that takes up unnecessary pages, and by avoiding finishes that render paper difficult to recycle. We are going to work hard to maintain this one.
8. Because free thinking and the courage of convictions
So here’s a weird one, but it’s on our mind a lot these days.
We find kids often ask for permission for odd things. Can I use pen or do I have to use pencil? Can I use a purple pen? Do I have to write it down or can we just talk about it? Am I allowed to…? Is it okay if…? Are you sure I can…?
We try not to be disturbed by this seemingly constant need for direction. So we simply keep reminding them that the page is theirs. No judgments. They don’t have to stay in their lanes. They are free to take risks.
Sometimes it gets us over-wondering: Are we as a society somehow creating a generation that actually wouldn’t mind being ruled? Or are we reading too much into it and this is just how kids are and how they have always been? We don’t know. But we want to help motivate kids in some small way to helm their own ship and lay their own course.
You know what we mean. Think for yourself. Don’t be afraid. Have the courage of your convictions.
P.S. Have we over-thought this topic? Yes. No doubt. Guilty as charged. Do we genuinely believe what we've presented here, even the touch-too-far bits? We so do, yes!