We had the opportunity to speak with Thierry Denoual and Julien Mayot the co-founders of Blue Orange games, and makers of Spot It! Below we learn from both of them how they have worked to create a successful company, an award winning game, and continue to be inspired.
Marbles: The Brain Store: How do you come up with new game ideas? Do you work as a team of designers, or do you come up with ideas on your own?
Thierry Denoual: I mainly work alone in the creative stage, and then I work closely with the Blue Orange marketing team to finalize the themes and the rules of the games.
Marbles: What are 2 trends that excite you?
Julien Mayot : First, going back to basics: simple things are coming back and will never be out of fashion. Spend real time with friends: shut down your TV, your computer and Facebook, call six friends and organize a board game night.
Second, durability: yes recycled is good, how about products that last? A metal water bottle won’t need to be recycled. The same way, every product we make is made to be durable so it does not end up in a garbage: we use solid materials such as resin, tin, wood, every game has a lid (so you do not lose parts) or a pouch to keep pieces all together. We print instructions on the game box so you’re always ready to play. And our cardboard boxes are made of recycled cardboard, we plant two trees for every tree used in game construction and we use non-petroleum based plastic for 95% of our plastics (mostly a resin called urea).
Marbles: What career path did you originally envision for yourself? Did you ever anticipate working with children’s products?
Denoual: I have always been interested in creating things. Games represent an endless outlet for a creative mind, so I feel very comfortable in it. Working with children’s product helps me stay young at heart.
Marbles: What do you think is the key to creating a successful, popular game?
Denoual: You have to come up with simple, easy to learn and easy to play concepts that are also fun. Then you need to develop an excellent marketing around them.
Marbles: What were the top two or three most significant obstacles you had to overcome to achieve success and how did you do it?
Denoual: You have to feel the market to adjust your initial idea into a sellable item. You cannot just come up with a good idea. A lot of good ideas go to waste because they are not well marketed. This is the main obstacle: being able to match the creative process, which is very free, with the marketing aspect, which responds to very strict rules and demands.
Marbles: What inspires you?
Mayot: I get inspiration traveling from toy store to toy store. Consumers and store owners give me ideas that I put into new products. Children are always the most creative and have given me my best business ideas!