Category archive: Design

Timbuktu is looking for a graphic designer

Hi there! 2014 has just begun, and chances are you are planning for some kind of change in your life.

You want to feel proud of your work, to feel challenged and respected. You’re not afraid of working under pressure, but you want your value to be recognized. You want to learn something new everyday and you’re not afraid of facing unknown challenges. You want to build something that has an impact on people, and you think that creating better products for children can lead to a better, fairer, more beautiful world.


If you have 3+ years of experience in graphic design, you love great illustration and you’re good at it.

If you’ve designed for both paper and web (experience with mobile apps is A BIG PLUS).

If you know InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop like the palm of your hand.

If you wish to feel part of a world class adventure that is changing the face of children’s publishing.

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, aka you’ve worked on your own projects and have experienced – and enjoyed- leading a team.

If you know what user experience design is, and it changed the way you work.

If you are humble and hard working. But you like the value you produce to be recognized.

If you care for details and can always keep in mind the big picture.

If you like the idea of competing for international awards with your work, and winning them.

If you like to work with a diverse, international team.

If you love the idea of building a company where people are respected for who they are, and are encouraged to express themselves with courage and generosity. (Yes, we said “building”, not “joining”).

If, above all, you care about users more than about yourself and understand that real beauty helps them get through products.

We want to hear from you. Email us at explaining why you’d like to work with us and what you’ve done (links are much appreciated). If we’re interested in your profile, we’ll ask you a follow up. In any case, we’ll try to provide feedback to everyone (unless your email looks like a copy and paste).


Don’t email us if you’ve never heard of Timbuktu and you don’t know what it is. If you don’t want to waste time downloading it and forming an opinion about our products, you probably don’t want this job (looking at the website is NOT enough).

Don’t email us if you think designing for children’s is a series B gig. We understand some people think this way and we’re trying to change that. But we probably wouldn’t like to work with you.

Don’t email us if you don’t want to email us. Sense of duty is rarely a good drive to start a new career.

Do email us if you love Timbuktu, but you think you have some qualifications but not all of them. Explain that in your email. We love honesty and enthusiasm.


There are several projects we’re starting to work on and we’ll discuss salaries and stock options plans according to the project and to your experience.


This can be a work-from-home job. A few travels may be required, and we appreciate your willingness to relocate, in case it should be necessary.

How to create an app for children, with children. In one week

What you are about to read is the diary of the summer camp that Timbuktu organized during the week from 8 to 12 July at the Digital Accademia in Roncade Treviso. The app that we created during the camp is now available in the Apple App Store. If you would like to be notified about our upcoming Timbuktu Camps, sign up to our newsletter.
Why have a summer camp? Because we wanted to open the doors of Timbuktu to a group of 25 children. We gave ourselves an ambitious objective: to create an app together in one week. But we didn’t want to teach the children about the programs used to make an app. Our ambitious objective was that of working together with them like a big editorial team: sharing goals and tasks, taking responsibility and experiencing failures and successes.

We also wanted to put the culture of collaboration, listening and support that we live every day at Timbuktu to the test and we used this occasion to better understand the role that each one of us has in creating our products.

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5 great examples of Sand Drawing and Animation

As many of you already know, we just released a brand new summer app called “Sand Drawing“. This is why we wanted to inspire you with some of the most beautiful pieces of art that have been produced drawing with sand. Train your sand drawing skills on our app and get ready to show off with your friends when you hit the beach!

1. Silvia Emme, Scenography for “The little prince”

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GREAT CONTEST: find a name for this character and win a unique t-shirt!

How would you like receiving a unique gift from Timbuktu? Something only you will wear, with the unique design of the great Philip Giordano? And yes, there are vampires on them.

Something like this.

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In-App Purchases: are developers evil?

There’s been a lot of demonization of developers using in-app purchases inside apps aimed at children. A few days ago Apple had to refund customers in the U.K. when their five-year-old boy accidentally spent $2,500 in in-app purchases in just 15 minutes. The settlement obviously made headlines and the debate followed. Sadly, most of the comments ended up simply reinforcing a widespread misconception: developers who use IAP inside children’s apps are evil and should be banned by Apple.

Since we develop apps for children and one of them uses IAP,  we took some time to clarify a few points. We’re pretty passionate about what we do, and we don’t like poor simplifications.

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Magazines for kids: history of two great successes

When we started Timbuktu, our goal was creating a digital editorial product that could replicate and enhance the quality of some great magazines for kids we loved as children. We’ve always thought of Timbuktu as a starting point to explore the world using imagination, parents and kids together. Why a magazine? Because historically new disruptive magazines gave voice to one part of humanity that was still neglected, and made it become recognized as a part of civil society.

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Happy MLK day!

Let’s get ready to celebrate MLK day on monday! Take a look at this infographic and remember why we should all be thankful to this extraordinary men.

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10 bizarre buildings your kids (and you) would love to visit.

Sometimes, there is really no limit to where imagination, and a certain tendency to dare, will take you. Have a look at what these architects dreamed up; it’s a series of buildings that look like they’re out of a child’s imagination, where we bet your kids would love to go.

1 – The picnic basket building

This is the Longaberger Company main office building. They are in Newark, Ohio, and you guessed it: they make baskets.

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10 artists, writers and musicians who made great art for kids

Maybe not all artists are children, but many artists have been inspired by childhood to make beautiful art. We had a look at architects, but many writers, visual artists and musicians were inspired to create work for kids too: here are some of our favorites.

1 – Bruno Munari

How not to open with Bruno Munari, an artist who contributed greatly to education and didactic, and whose work, for kids and otherwise, will always be a source of inspiration for us! Remember the series of activities for kids inspired by him we sent out with our newsletter last summer? The list of his work for children is long, but this poster of speaking forks (and the images in the gallery) can give you an idea of his intelligent and playful approach to design.

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Children’s furniture that will make grown-ups very jealous.

Even when they don’t have anything special about them, children’s furniture are adorable – because, you know, they are tiny, and for children! So when you add great, imaginative design you get something properly amazing pieces of furniture that you really wish you could use too. We’ve collected a few: the bad news is that you are too big for most of them. But the good news is that you still get to keep them in your house!

1 – A tree bookcase

Creatd by Korean designer Shawn Soh, this tree-shaped bookshelf would look fantastic in any child’s room. Maybe your kid will let you keep one or two of your books on it too, if you ask nicely.

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