We are really thinking a lot about Barbie these days! Why is there so much talk? After all she can fly, cook, swim, surf, pretend, work, teach, lead, skate, dress up, design, and so much more. What more do we want from this doll? I say, “let girls play!” It’s OK to be young, free, full of imagination AND to like shoes.
By now you should have heard of the term “transmedia”, the definition of which seems to vary from industry to industry. For us, the veteran girl experience designers at Nena Media, transmedia is telling stories across forms, each form making up an essential but different part of the whole story. We are form agnostic as those are sure to change with time and technology. Today the challenge is covering an ever-widening array of forms and doing it all simultaneously. These forms, like social media, fashion, books, music, games and movies are at the heart of where girls hangout. Any way you define it, we know that building brands for girls means stories must have meaning in their lives beyond the screen and be able to seamlessly move into multiple experiences that feel natural and authentic, not stretched or plastic. It’s like connecting the dots in a four dimensional story matrix. A story can be defined as the fairytale or it can be the backstory of the person telling it. It’s the Teller and the Tale. Both are relevant to our audience. Whether playing or dreaming, girls love the who-what-when-where because they aspire to be all that and more. Modern storytellers often find themselves needing to weave together reality and fantasy while keeping an audience willing to go either way. While transmedia storytellers must work in multiple dimensions compelling their audiences to re-engage for each part, if done right, transmedia stories can end up like good friends: always there for you, in different ways, and just in time.
There is a new world of story magic out there! Imagine 3D printing objects (cool on their own) but then viewing them through the “magic glass” of your smartphone. Suddenly the possibilities are endless as you view creatures, characters and otherworldly animations connected to the object you just printed. Suddenly a virtual kitty is sleeping on your newly printed chair or a fairy is breaking free from the lantern you just printed. Story, whether in the printers mind or viewed through augmented reality, is what makes these objects special and desirable.
The technology is there but the magic is waiting to be unleashed!
We question why there haven’t more advances in wearable tech now that the elements are so inexpensive and accessible. Check out how the sensors are used here and the small micro-processor the designer Michelle Wu uses. It is amazing to see how she taught herself via youtube how to make the dress. At Nena Media, we’ve been talking about 3D printing with conductive ink and how that would work to add electricity to our toy designs. Imagine if you could print a lamp and be able to add a little light bulb?