Design Thinking Toolkits

November 2011

I had a last-minute request to make gift bags to hand out at a Design Thinking workshop. The recipients were parents of third graders at a local school who were doing a d.thinking exercise to create something to make their lives better. As is always the case in such workshops, the activities involved multiple rounds of “ethnography” (interviewing each other), “brainstorming” (coming up with as many ideas as possible) and “rapid prototyping” (quickly building selected ideas using copious amounts of pipe cleaners, Play-Doh and Post-its®.) These stages are in quotes because, while the workshops are entertaining and a great learning experience, they tend to resemble true design work as much as putting together LEGO® sets resembles true engineering.

Despite tight budgetary and time constraints, I knew it was important to do some light branding around the gift bags and created a set of labels.

Three different styles

I created three different looks for the design toolkits.



Each of the designs had to be printed out, cut, and glued to the front of a gift bag.

Bag contents


The contents of the bags were simple, and appropriate for those with 3rd graders at home: pipe cleaners, LEGO® blocks, Play-Doh, a Creative Whack Pack, and my personal favorite: a handy-dandy travel-sized amount of duct tape wrapped around a golf pencil.

Finished bags

Here are the 40 bags all ready to go.