Sustainable product design is more than eco design: it goes beyond 'green' to consider the work environment, community impacts, consumer health, and economic viability, as well as environmental attributes. "Beyond Child's Play" explores the concept of sustainable product design in the context of the global doll-making industry. To initiate this research, the author reviewed eco design parameters and developed criteria for sustainable product design in the doll-making industry. Using this framework, she conducted three case studies of do I making: the American Girl doll produced in China, the Kathe Kruse doll produced in Germany and the Q'ewar Project doll produced in Peru. Themes emerged from this research that have relevance beyond the doll-making industry: the value of making a product with care; designing work for human dignity; intention and vision for sustainability; the implications of materials choices; and, transparency and sustainability. Sustainable product design calls for fundamentally new thinking. By connecting the term 'sustainable' to 'product', we raise expectations for a radically different approach to design, production, and consumption. This framework integrates the eco design principles of detoxification and dematerialization with the principle of 'humanization', to ensure that the work environment where the product is made is safe and healthy and that local communities benefit from production. This approach places increased responsibility on the industrial designer and decision-makers throughout the supply chain, including governments, corporations, and citizens. Sustainable product design can be implemented effectively only when systems are in place that support sustainable production and consumption.
CHAPTER 1 Why Study Dolls?
A brief description of the three case studies, a discussion of embedded meaning in doll design and a brief history of commercial doll-making.
CHAPTER 2 The Toy Industry Today
Production and consumption in the context of globalization; hazards in toy production/use; overview of the US/European toy industry; activism to improve toy safety; corporate responses.
CHAPTER 3 A Conceptual Framework for Sustainable Product Design
The product life cycle, a history of terminology in eco and sustainable design, and a framework for sustainable product design.
CHAPTER 4 The American Girl Company
Design of the American Girl doll; marketing strategy/psychology; philanthropy; production process in a typical Chinese factory; working conditions and environmental issues in Mattel’s Chinese factories.
CHAPTER 5 The Käthe Kruse Doll Company
The history of the Käthe Kruse doll company; design and production process; health and safety issues in production; worker flexibility and control over job tasks.
CHAPTER 6 The Q’ewar Project of Andahuaylillas, Peru
The history of the Q’ewar project; design and production process; health and safety issues; special aspects of the Project; the economics of this initiative.
CHAPTER 7 Emerging Themes for Sustainable Product Design
Comparing case studies and emerging themes: the significance of care; designing work for human dignity; intention and vision for sustainability; choosing materials/chemicals; transparency and sustainability.
CHAPTER 8 Paradigm Shifting or Incremental Change? Some Thoughts on Sustainable Product Design, Production, and Consumption
The purpose of products; challenges of scale in implementing sustainable product design; linking sustainable production design, production and consumption; roles of different actors.
Appendix—Evaluation of Sustainable Design Elements for Each Case Study