Addresses kids an a subject other than sport and the usual subjects… Its about nature. There are so many dimensions – it creates an awareness of birds. Smart, simple, easy to use. – Ravi
Teaches kids about the nature and the rarity of birds. It is multi-dimensional – the secondary function to education is that it may help re-populate the bird population. – Porky
Peck is a wild bird food available in 200g pots aimed at children in the UK aged between 5 and 12. Collectable cards are included in each pot (50 in total), these help to teach children about birds in the UK. The whole product aims to better link children with nature in our modern technology dominated society.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
A child’s interaction with nature is dwindling in our current technology dominated society. Modern developments mean children in the UK are far more withdrawn from nature than any previous generation. Yet it’s been proven that a child’s interaction with nature can have strong positive benefits in their development, both mentally and physically. Developments in birdseed mixes now enable homeowners to attract a large range of wild birds to their gardens, but feeding wild birds tends to have a stigma that it is solely for older generations. Current birdfood packaging is very uninviting and often sold in large quantities aimed at enthusiasts. The RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) recommends we do feed wild birds especially to help them through the winter, yet only older generations tend to participate in this.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
A big focus was emphasised on how to attract children to a product that generally is not perceived for them. This meant completely changing the way the product itself is advertised, packaged and sold. This included having a large emphasis on creating an important balance between being desirable but also educational. An example of this is the birds shown on the packaging itself. These rather than using pictures of birds show detailed illustrations that emphasise the birds’ colours and markings to be attractive but also educational. The idea to include cards was also decided to help create this balance. The card are educational, but as only 3 random cards are in each pack this encourages the child to collect more cards and feed more birds. The cards themselves are based on a system of rarity; the rarity of the card dictates how easy it is to find in a pot, but also directly reflects how rare the bird is in the wild. Many of these subtle educational links are used throughout the product to maintain something that feels fun.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
Initially the market was evaluated to understand if such a niece existed and could be exploited. This also helped to understand current designs and market segregation. Research into British Standards and food regulation standards helped inform what information had to be included on the product. A brand story was carefully created and applied throughout design work that stayed true to the brief and initial insights. A great deal of research was carried out into UK birds themselves. A database was created of over 100 different UK bird species. This helped to identify how endangered the species is, eating habits, seasonal habits, population, size, area of residence, characteristics and where they can be seen. This information was then used to inform which 4 mixes could best attract the most diverse range of birds across the whole of the UK. The data was also used to create the 50 collectable cards, species where picked that created the best spread and interest. A catalogue of photography was also collected to understand specific markings and characteristics to create the unique illustrations on the packaging. Research was done into correct bird hygiene, feeding facts and information, correct food placement, preferred garden orientation and layout and bird facts. This all helped to create informative sections on the website that teach correct feeding techniques and guidelines. Although conceptual, the product was developed with current manufacturing and assembly techniques in mind. A pricing, marketing and advertising strategy was also created to prove the product could be successfully implemented yet sustainable, educational and profitable.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
The true impact is that the product has the potential to educate and get children interested in Nature. The benefits of a child interacting with Nature include positive impact on education, physical health, emotional wellbeing and personal and social skills. The children of today need to grow up in a world where Nature is truly valued and appreciated, if they do not, this could have huge repercussions in itself. As a race we currently face huge challenges to turn around the imbalance in the world to be in better harmony with Nature; the last thing we need is the next generation to further undervalue the Natural world. Peck also aims to be a stepping stone to creating a physical relationship between the child and nature that will endure as they develop and grow older. Alongside the benefits for children there are also benefits for the birds themselves. In 1987 only 18 bird species was catered for in terms of bird food mixes on the market, in 2011 it was recorded mixes now cater for 80 different species. This means we live in a great time to be able to offer a product like this to children, but also help certain bird species which are in decline.6. Did the context of your project change throughout its development? If so, how did your understanding of the project change?
I think it’s fair to say children like to integrate with nature if given the opportunity, and more often than not the parents are also in favour of this. The RSPB also encourages both bird feeding and children interacting with nature, so would certainly be in favour of such a product.7. How will your project remain economically and operationally sustainable in the long term?
Firstly the packaging is entirely recyclable. Also the website launched with the product contains recipes to create suet cakes for the birds using the seed mix and packaging. The peck cards as well as being educational also help to encourage repeat purchasing to collect the entire set. This theoretically would help create repeat business and keep the business economically sustainable. The UK also has many more bird species than just the 50 collectable cards, these could then be launched with other peck bird food in the future.