As a brand, Kids2 primarily operates in the baby toys and gear industry but offers so much more than that. It goes beyond product to gather insights and create holistic solutions for parents under the values of accessibility, community, and inclusivity. Frank Tyneski, VP of Industrial Design and Experience, discusses how Kids2 continues to revolutionize its portfolio, relying on tightknit company teams working together and aided along the process by KeyShot CAD.
From our humble beginnings fifty years ago, Kids2 has since grown into a global enterprise. No matter what time of day, the sun is always shining on a location where we design, develop, market, and sell our products and services.
The universal challenge for any company that experiences rapid growth is learning to function as a big business while maintaining the speed and agility of a start-up. I believe this is our secret at Kids2, a multi-national business where everyone is family, including our vendors and partners. We design products for families, but family is also the underpinning of our culture.
In these unprecedented times, our internal family had to rally to harmonize global teams and operations to quickly adapt and respond to numerous business disruptors. Among the many challenges we faced was the inability for us to acquire physical product samples and photograph them in our company studio. Without product photography, it looked as if the quarantine would significantly delay the launch of numerous products already in the factory cue. These revenue-generating product launches could not commence without aspirational product shots to fulfill packaging graphics, advertising needs, promotional materials, images for online sales, etc.
Thinking and acting like a family, our Global Design and Innovation (GDI) team stepped up to help our Marketing team resolve this daunting challenge. The solution came in the form of a question:
What if we could replace product photography with digital renderings that look convincingly real?
Our design team is constantly producing digital renderings of their concepts. However, designers are only required to quickly communicate an idea of what a product concept might be. The images designers produce are of modest quality and resolution, only intended to pitch ideas in PowerPoint. Nobody would mistake them for being ‘photo-real.’
Without much time on the clock or another solution readily at hand, we concluded that upgrading our CAD rendering software would answer the question. Thankfully, we already benchmarked rendering tools for product design, so we swiftly and confidently invested in KeyShot CAD visualization software by Luxion. Our internal IT team had to scramble to support the installs and provision our machines for the task at hand. Jeff Hayden, COO at Luxion, remained in lockstep with us until all systems were functioning.
As the VP of Industrial Design at Kids2, I rarely drive a three-button mouse. Since I have some prior experience with KeyShot, I committed myself to the project and partnered with Charlie Mitchell, a brilliantly gifted designer at Kids2 who possesses an unstoppable can-do attitude. We took on the rendering task together, along with plenty of support from KeyShot Studios, an outpost of KeyShot that provides training, image creation, and animation services. Support from KeyShot Studios was invaluable, and the experience of working with Brad Adelmann, director of creative services, was inspiring and joyful.
Before we could advance with renderings, our internal global design and development staff had to source the engineering CAD and organize the data into individual product assemblies. The graphic and fashion files also had to be provisioned for import into KeyShot.
We all learned on the fly. It was like running while tying our shoes at the same time. Whenever someone hit the pavement, a helping hand would emerge. Success was everyone’s objective, no silos, just one family working towards a singular goal.
“There were moments when Charlie and I felt like we were on Apollo 13, completely dependent on mission control to get us home.”
At first glance, KeyShot’s dashboard rather looks like a spaceship with lots of controls and options to ponder. As we learned from KeyShot Studios, we quickly found KeyShot’s user interface to be both intuitive and memorable. Surprisingly, we were producing test renderings within hours of opening the software.
The end results were shockingly good. You would be hard-pressed to identify one of our KeyShot renderings among a batch of photographs. We even produced contextual shots by combining photos of children into the digital scene.
On behalf of Kids2, I am proud to say we not only achieved a time-sensitive objective that pins to revenue, but we also built new organizational muscle and grew our corporate family to include KeyShot Studios.
See more at kids2.com/