Finalist 2021

Lockdown Toy Library Service - Branding and App Design

Crystal Oliver

A fun and positive adaptation of what engaging branding and a shift in services can achieve, even during challenging times.

Colourful kids brand identity, toy borrowing app, website, and new member welcome pack for a toy borrowing service to promote sustainable play for kids in lockdown.

Design Brief

Like many services, toy libraries have been closed throughout Victoria during lockdown. They rely heavily on their members (parent and children) being able to visit, choose their toys in person and take them home. Borrow Buddies will be an exciting new program for the community, offering a revolutionary ‘click and deliver’ service for its members during the pandemic. Virtual marketing events and social media promotions will help to increase opportunities for members to stay connected and feel socially included whilst the Library alternatively operates.

A new app focusing on UX design for kids will be engaging and fun, to empowering them to take the reins in choosing which toys they would like each month. Printed welcome packs are sent to little members to teach them about the positive benefits of borrowing rather than buying toys, to educate the younger generation on the doing their bit to look after the planet.


This project was developed by:

Design Process

The aims and objectives of the organisations needs were clearly identified with thorough deep research of key stakeholders to identify the problems and opportunities where design innovation could be applied to improve the user's journey and adapt a service offering that could continue to run during lockdown. An analysis of the design problems were found, with the solution of a rebrand, an ipad app and a click delivery service exceeding the design brief. The strategy and proposal of recommendations was to enhance the young user's experience centring around nurturing positive experiences during Covid-19. The design outcomes are professionally executed and finished, with attention to detail, age-appropriate branding graphics and colour palette and engaging app functionality to keep children engaged whilst educating them on the planet.

Design Excellence

The problem with our war on waste is an alarming one. Australia is one of the most wasteful countries in the developed world! In the next 10 years, an estimated 111 million tonnes of plastic waste will be produced, with nowhere to go. The communication strategy is to establish a customer-centric toy borrowing service that supports families designed specifically for lockdown. This innovative solution benefits the community and the planet, whilst forging a new avenue for membership growth.

This creative project satisfies the fundamental criteria for good design by focussing on the younger generation and their needs of a smooth user experience and playful branding aesthetics. The branding has been rolled out seamlessly and consistently, across all visual touch points (print and digital) to allow for a holistic, high quality deliverables. This service is revolutionary in its offering, as most toy libraries have only adapted to Click and Collect. With a 5km lockdown radius, this is not accessible to all families. Borrow buddies will set a new benchmark and communicate the benefits of investing in professional design, adapting to the needs of both children and families during the pandemic. The new visual identity vastly improves the quality of the services, whilst drawing attention to the positive impact this services will have on the young, isolated community which is what makes this purpose unique for design excellence in Victoria.

Design Innovation

Our objective is to enhance the way in which customers connect with the library, specifically in respect of designing for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Borrow buddies solves the legitimate problem of a service that is currently lacking in Victoria, creating a new opportunity in a truly innovative and imaginative manner. The project includes a ground-breaking app with design features that empowers the young members of the toy library to browse and choose their own toys, follow as the rainbow van updates when the toys will be delivered, and connects them with other children in the area to play games on promoting positive environmental impacts.

According to the Australian Governments report on the health of children, socially and emotionally competent children thrive. They are more confident, are better communicators, they take on more challenging tasks, and develop the necessary train to generally succeed better in life. The design is user-centred and answers the individual needs of its users, responding to the current circumstances with a solution that is both positive and innovative.

Design Impact

This project has the potential to make a much needed, positive impact from a social perspective. Adhering to the principles of a circular economy by promoting the positive benefits of borrowing toys rather than buying, educating children with printed colouring-in infographics and digital games on the environmental impact of our footprint. The more we educate the younger generations of this, the more long-lasting and positive impact toy borrowing services will have on our society, our economy and the environment.

Lockdown in Victoria has taught us many lessons, particularly for families. With a slower pace comes an opportunity for discovery, deeper connection, opening up social pathways for children and parents to share their experiences. By offering a positive experience of play during this time, is what will connect the brand with the target audience who so desperately need it. The brands story, the way toy libraries already invigorate a sustainability movement that deserves to be promoted is one worth investing in. Considerations to adapt to the challenge of lockdown will have a positive outcome, by offering to the local community that they can get involved will ultimately become an authentic extension of the toy libraries current context.

The positive impacts of investing in professional design for a service like Borrow Buddies will further promote the importance of design and creative culture across the state of Victoria, Australia and internationally.

Circular Design and Sustainability Features

The problem with our war on waste is an alarming one. Australia is one of the most wasteful countries in the developed world! In the next 10 years, an estimated 111 million tonnes of plastic waste will be produced, with nowhere to go. The mission of Borrow Buddies for the planet is a positive one. Helping to build awareness amongst all generations about plastic waste, every little bit we can do to further spread the message is important.

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