It's become a familiar story, but one we find energizing. A creative parent is dissatisfied with what's passing for design aesthetic in the children's marketplace and decides to roll up his or her sleeves to fill the gap. Some of our favorite products and companies have started out this way and A Modern Eden is one of them. What began as Ryan Clark's pursuit to decorate his son's nursery has become a league of retro-modern animal illustrations gracing flash cards, posters and two really swell apps for children. We recently wrote about ways to hang and display flashcards
, but perhaps that's putting the horse before the cart. If you need to buy the horse first, consider A Modern Eden's set of animal flashcards
($16). The illustrations are clean, graphic and a bit angular - just how we like 'em. And the cards are printed using something called Digi-touch technology, "so kids can feel the textures of the patterns on the animals."
A few animals (Webster the frog, Henry the lion and Presley the peacock) have reached the big time and are available as posters ($19) and we hope more will be on offer in the future.
Living up to the "modern" in their name, A Modern Eden is right with the times with two apps for kids, Speak, Piggy and "C" is for Cow (.99 each). It's refreshing to see such beautiful illustrations in digital form (in contrast to many apps which look like they were designed in the Frogger era) and they are a prime example of apps' potential as teaching tools for children. "C" is for Cow shows an animal for every letter of the alphabet with a button to hear the letter ("C") and then what the letter symbolizes ("C is for cow"). Similarly, Speak, Piggy has buttons to hear the animal sound as well as the name of the animal (recorded in a child's voice). Each screen also spells the word, a benefit for older children. The Speak, Piggy animals represent animals from the farm, the house, the world and the poles.
Finally, A Modern Eden sells two recycled cotton tote bags (apple or tree, $15) for anyone who has yet to hop on the reusable bag train.
We're looking forward to what A Modern Eden has in store in the future.