Why I design for little humans (and why you should care)


Hello friends,

Zack here—the Canvas in Chalkboard & Canvas. As our Doodler-in-Chief, it's my mission to introduce little humans to great design at an early age. Because design is important. And it's about much more than pretty pictures.

Simply put, a great designer is an expert at communicating visually. They know how to combine images and words in just the right way to get their point across meaningfully and simply. And often, the best design is so powerful because of the designer's ability to draw unexpected connections and make you see the world through different glasses. So when someone says:

"Wow, that's so creative!"

they usually mean:

"Wow, I never thought to make that connection!"

I could ramble all day about this—trust me—but I'll get to the point.

Young brains are like sponges, soaking up information and creating zillions of neurological connections that form the basis of a young person's understanding of the world. To a young brain, every new tidbit of information is an adventure witnessed through fresh eyes, and kids are so creative because they're constantly forming new connections between their experiences. It's the reason Pablo Picasso said:

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

Tell me about it, Pablo. That's why I believe all kids are uniquely equipped to appreciate great design, and to benefit from all of the playful connections their brains will form as a result. And when kids with design-brains grow into adults with design-brains, the world benefits, because we have even more creative thinkers and tinkerers out there solving the world's problems.

Charles (1907-1978) and Ray (1912-1988) Eames 2007 production, 1945 design. Plywood, 16.5 x 16.25 x 31". Courtesy of Vitra Inc. © Charles & Ray Eames

Charles (1907-1978) and Ray (1912-1988) Eames

2007 production, 1945 design. Plywood, 16.5 x 16.25 x 31". Courtesy of Vitra Inc. © Charles & Ray Eames

We're certainly not the first to see inspiration at the intersection of education and design. Charles and Ray Eames—two of my personal heroes—saw it back in the 40s, when design was still a relatively new idea. Their products were stunning syntheses of form and function that were as beautiful as they were useful, and the things they designed for kids were no different, blurring the line between learning and play.

Now, more than 70 years later, design for young brains is not a new new idea. But when my wife and I started talking about what we could create together, we quickly realized that there aren't a lot of designers out there making amazing stuff for teachers and the classroom. We're here to change that. It's my goal to leave behind a legacy of great creations that helped grow a generation of brilliant humans. It's the most important thing I could imagine doing with my abilities, and I'm excited to be sharing it with you.


Zack Mueller  | C&C Co-Founder & Doodler-in-Chief

P.S.—Charles and Ray were also married. Just sayin'...

P.P.S—The Canvas will be my recurring column on the C&C blog, and a place for me to share what's inspiring me. Subscribe to stay tuned!