Book publication announcement

Designing for Kids: Creating for Playing, Learning, and Growing

“An invaluable resource for both novice and experienced designers in the kid space. Filled with interesting and actionable takeaways, this book allows you to incorporate its teachings into your work immediately. It’s delightful and inspiring, and well worth a read.”

– Brendan Boyle, Partner and Founder of the IDEO Play Lab, Consulting Associate Professor at Stanford

“A case study in design thinking itself with its meticulous attention to both theory and practice with foremost empathy for both the teacher and student. Castella does a magnificent job of tailoring her design thinking methods to specific development stages of a child. It’s destined to be a classic for any STEAM educator who seeks to master design thinking in the classroom.

– John Maeda, Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion at Automattic, Inc

“Thoughtful and breathtaking in its scope, Designing for Kids proves itself an invaluable resource. Krystina Castella melds her years of experience and expertise with nearly 100 interviews with industry professionals across a wide range of fields providing deep, real-world insights.”

– Eric Poesch, SVP of Design and Product Development, Uncle Milton Industries 

“This is an inspiring read that is full of wisdom and best practices, one that every designer who aspires to create consequential products, services and experiences for children and teens will want to have on their library shelf.”

– Mariana Amatullo, PHD Associate Professor, Parsons School of Design, The New School

“Not only is this book all you need to know about any sort of design, but it is also a comprehensive review of early child development. The tradecraft is right, and the background science is up to the minute.”

– Jay Beckwith, Play Systems Designer, Expert in residence Gymboree play and music


Key Attributes:
Designers, especially design students, rarely have access to children or their worlds when creating products, images, experiences and environments for them. Therefore, fine distinctions between age transitions and the day-to-day experiences of children are often overlooked. Designing for Kids brings together all a designer needs to know about developmental stages, play patterns, age transitions, playtesting, safety standards, materials and the daily lives of kids, providing a primer on the differences in designing for kids versus designing for adults. Castella provides educators and practitioners with actionable methodologies that will aid us in understanding childhood development today and how this will have a lasting impact on children’s growth and development as they progress.

“Our role and responsibility as designers for kids and teens in the products we make, the spaces we design, and the services that we offer can strongly influence their childhood”, Castella expresses as the current world of childhood today is vastly changing due to technology, media, education and other social contexts. This book covers developmental stages with the main pillars of development including physical, cognitive, social and emotional development with special consideration for today’s kids, Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Research and interviews with designers, social scientists and industry experts are included, highlighting theories and terms used in the fields of design, developmental psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology and education. Steven Heller, co-chair of School of Visual Arts MFA Design/Designer as Author and Entrepreneur states that “Designing for kids is designing for the future. The objects both physical and virtual will mold a child’s future and Krystina Castella’s brilliant book will help designers bring that future to life.”

This textbook includes more than 150 color images, helpful discussion questions and clearly formatted chapters, making it relevant to a wide range of readers. It is a useful tool for students in industrial design, interaction design, environmental design and graphic design with children as the main audience for their creations. It will also be of interest to researchers and educators around topics of play, technology and play, social play, and play for social impact.

Publication Data:

Designing for Kids is available via Routledge:
ISBN: 9781138290761 | Paperback | 466 pages | $39.96 | December 3, 2018

For Further Press Inquiries:

For press inquiries, interview or appearance requests, please contact:

Samantha Wallace

Teri Bond

To request a copy for review, please complete our online form:

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Check out Krystina’s Author Q&A with us at the link below:
Author Q&A

About the Author:

Krystina Castella is a professor of industrial design and business at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, USA. Krystina has practiced as a designer and has taught at ArtCenter College of Design across disciplines for almost three decades. Her research and teaching center around designing for play, the intersection between design and ethical business, designing for social innovation, and sustainable materials and manufacturing innovation.