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The studio saving masturbation from the bottom drawer | #BehindTheIdea

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It’s not something we like to talk about in so-called ‘polite society’ but most women masturbate at least once a week. To celebrate rather than tut over these findings, the award-winning visual design and innovation studio Morrama has attempted to “revolutionise the sexual products sector" with its first design for sexual wellness brand Toy Projects.

Created with insights from female consumers, the three “visually exciting” vibrators have been designed with the aim to celebrate female pleasure and prevent woman from hiding their sex toys in the drawer. The ‘instagrammable’ toys are meant to inspire people to shift their thinking about pleasure and spark more open conversations.

Here at #BehindTheIdea we’re used to hearing creatives tell us about their inspiring ideas and processes when it comes to creating tv spots or marketing events, but this is definitely a first for us. We spoke to Léa Berger, the creative lead on the project, to discuss the beauty of pleasure.

What was the brief?

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Founded in 2020, Toy Projects approached us to design its first three products - a trio of vibrators in different shapes that suit various preferences. As a female led design agency, we were briefed to design a unique, thoughtful, and sustainable range of bullet vibrators that provide tailored experiences according to individuals’ needs.

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

As a team, we are open to discussing most topics and with additional input from our wider networks it was clear that we don’t fit into a neat box when it comes to pleasure preferences. We all like different things, so we aimed to design a range that would suit everyone.

We began by answering the most important questions – the who/what/where/when/why – to define the reason for the product to exist in the first place. We developed a user journey to highlight challenges and opportunities for the consumers and talked to sex educators/ experts to gain further understanding of the current sexual wellness market, upcoming trends, and consumer insights. 

At Morrama, we also brainstorm ideas through speed sketching (everyone gets around three minutes to sketch as many ideas as possible) to encourage creativity and thinking outside of the box.

What was the process behind ideating the concept?

The ‘instagrammable’ toys are meant to inspire people to shift their thinking about pleasure and spark more open conversations. As such, we had to define the aesthetic direction through storytelling. We crafted mood boards, sketches, and key phrases to define if the products need to look minimal, organic, or sculptural. 

At Morrama, we are keen believers that every product needs to serve a purpose and meet its users’ expectations and needs, so we focused on anatomy when developing the various concepts for the ‘head’ of each toy to create different types of stimulation. 

What was the production process like?

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We assisted Toy Projects in looking for a supplier and focused on finding someone with great expertise in the sexual wellness industry, who can deliver great quality products with the right kind of materials. There aren’t a huge number of choices when it comes to sex toys, the softest and most suitable for intimate use is medical grade liquid silicone. So, this is what’s used in the Toy Projects toys.

What was the biggest challenge during production? How did you overcome it?

Usually, we like to be involved in the manufacturing process and visit factories to help with small challenges and overall quality checks. But this time, travelling wasn’t always possible because of COVID-19 so we had to hold the suppliers to a high standard with a lot of backward and forward online exchanges. It wasn’t very time efficient, but we had to make sure the product is perfect before it reaches consumers. 

What kit/tools/software were used to create the project?

Sketching is always our first step when exploring aesthetic directions and creating design concepts, but this time we had to sculpt some forms and shapes. To ensure that the design meets women’s expectations and personal preferences, we used clay before translating the toys into 3D CAD data through the Solidworks software for the manufacturing process. It was quite challenging as it always is with organic shapes, but we’re really happy with the results. 

What is one funny or notable thing that happened during production?

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This was a new, fun, and interesting challenge for Morrama. Working as a team and sharing our understanding of pleasure really helped us to design a product that supports Toy Projects’ mission. In the early stages of the project, we definitely had a few moments of absentmindedly waving sex toys during online meetings, but luckily it was lockdown at that time!

What’s the main message of this project and why does it matter?

With three unique shapes and bright colours of lavender, pink and blue-slate, this set of vibrators is set to become a lifestyle accessory that merges the line between sex and expression. The products are not meant to be hidden away in the bottom drawer, but to encourage conversations between people about what they like and why they chose that stimulation type. The mission of the brand is ‘Feel Different’ which summarises it nicely. 

How long did it take from inception to delivery?

We started working with Toy Projects during lockdown mid-2020, and the first prototype T1 (functional + aesthetic) was made eight months later in February 2021. The second prototype was released a couple of months later in 2021. 

Toy Projects began taking pre-orders at the end of 2021 and has been selling the toys ever since. 

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

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We wanted to help Toy Projects elevate intimate culture. The products are designed to open the conversation about sexual wellness even more: educating on sexual wellness to discover oneself (with or without a partner) and gain better understanding of our bodies. 

Sexual health is no longer a taboo topic, so such products need to be considered as part of the health/wellness sector and make pleasure a bigger part of personal care. 

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