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Elmo and the gang get a stylin’ makeover

In a move to refresh Sesame Street's look at retail and make its designs more relevant to today's kids, Sesame Workshop has overhauled its old style guide to reflect children's routines and help combat unhealthy habits. Interestingly, the Workshop made the overhaul a fully collaborative effort, extensively consulting its licensees to get a bead on how to super-serve retailers and taking nine months to build the book.
January 1, 2006

In a move to refresh Sesame Street’s look at retail and make its designs more relevant to today’s kids, Sesame Workshop has overhauled its old style guide to reflect children’s routines and help combat unhealthy habits. Interestingly, the Workshop made the overhaul a fully collaborative effort, extensively consulting its licensees to get a bead on how to super-serve retailers and taking nine months to build the book.

Project head Jorge Ferreiro, VP of global consumer products and creative, even embarked on a three-month long tour of the property’s key markets including Japan, Germany, Holland and Australia to sniff out trends and extract retail info from licensees.

Keeping in the spirit of teamwork, Sesame brought together more than 100 character artists, licensee designers and merchandisers for a one-day session in New York last fall to unveil the new guide. As an icebreaker, a veteran puppeteer revealed some tricks of the trade. He demonstrated how the show’s signature puppets are constructed and manipulated on-set, giving licensees a chance to interact with and better understand the characters.

While the graphic elements of the old guide were grouped into categories such as ‘play’ and ‘learn,’ no overriding theme existed. But this new iteration is modeled on a typical day in the life of a child, reflecting kids activities from waking up to getting ready for bed. So a pair of pajamas, for example, might sport a graphic of Elmo brushing his teeth to remind children of an important part of their bedtime ritual. As well, Ferreiro and his team wanted the guide to reflect kids current interests more closely – so expect to see characters riding scooters and shredding on skateboards.

And in keeping up with the times, the guide is consciously promoting healthy habits and food choices for kids. For example, Sesame Street characters featured on items such as toy kitchen utensils and kitchen sets will be depicted eating fruit and muffins rather than cookies or bacon.

Sesame Workshop produced 1,000 pieces of artwork for its 700 licensees around the world, and product sporting the new look will hit North American and Japanese retail outlets this spring. Retailers in Australia, Holland and Germany will be following suit in the fall.

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