Hento Toto is an inclusive employment program for people with intellectual disabilities. Since 2006, the programme has been one of the educational and therapeutic activities of an NGO called Bol raz jeden človek. Different initiatives by Hento Toto have included running its own tv station, a folk dance group and a football team.
Perfectly imperfect drawings that make people smile
“Drawing and arts have been part of our activities from the beginning, but we started to realise the value our members’ drawings could have for others after years of developing their artistic skills. We’ve always enjoyed their drawings’different styles, simplicity, precision and weirdness. These perfectly imperfect drawings have made us smile or say aww so much that we wanted to show them to others and spread positive and inclusive thoughts,” the Hento Toto team member explains.
Nowadays, Hento Toto runs as a special creative studio working on different projects. “We design our own products, like badges, enamel pins, postcards, calendars, bags and t-shirts, but we also do some collaborations on commercial orders. To name one – we are very proud and grateful for a collaboration we had last year with a local chocolate company. We love new challenges, because they are like adventures that encourage us to do something unexpected.”
Dream collaboration comes true
One such challenge was their work on the special edition of Curaprox toothbrushes. “The Curaprox Design Challenge on Jovoto was our first design challenge ever, and because Curaprox was one of our dream collaborations, we decided to join it. We didn’t win, but it was a great experience and inspiration for us. And then a few months later we received an email direct from Curaden offering us the unbelievable possibility to create a limited Hento Toto edition.”
The artists and designers from Hento Toto are deeply inspired by daily adventures and the things that are around them – interesting people, funny animals, stories from real life or movies, books and trips they take.
Toothbrushes to look through and imagine the impossible
Their goal of encouraging unlimited fantasy is obvious from looking at the design of the Hento Toto double pack of toothbrushes. “We decided to come up with joyful, crazy, cute and nonsensical drawings to express fantasy without borders. In the bathroom we are in our own small space, with our normal routine, sleepy or excited, with a head full of thoughts. It’s only up to us what kind of thoughts we choose them to be. So why not start the day with a smile, thinking of the fun and positive things we could do, and encourage ourselves to do more and to do better? It’s always fun to dream and try to do the impossible. So the pure transparent handles of the toothbrushes are enabling us to look through and imagine, while the dots on the bristles are designed into question and exclamation marks, as symbols for asking ourselves the question ‘Why?’ about a possible new adventure, and answering ‘Why not!’,” the Hento Toto designer explains.
The design idea for the toothbrushes was initially quite challenging for the team, as they wanted to be original and stay true to themselves. “After we decided on the main idea that it’s nice to dream, to be childish, curious, adventurous, we had so many drawings that we nearly didn’t have enough space for all of them.”
A smile has the power to change things
Because Curaprox is a well-known brand in Slovakia, all the creators knew of Curaprox’s colourful products before they started to work on the design. “Creating something nice with Curaprox was one of our dreams as designers, because of their great products but also for their values. Everybody in our team uses Curaprox toothbrushes, just in different colours according to our preferences.”
The main goal of all Hento Toto’s designs is to make people smile. “A simple smile has the power to change so many things – our mood, how we see things, how others see us. It can make our interactions kinder, or even start new friendships. With the Curaprox Hento Toto Edition we want to make customers looking at the toothbrushes smile, and think about positive, funny, silly things.”
For the future, the whole team wants to keep creating their own products – and go a little bit further from just the badges and postcards. “We would love to make some home decor, not only for kids, but for anybody who is brave and playful enough. The only important thing for us is that the collaboration and products have to be meaningful. And from the collaboration with Curaprox we learned that dreams can come true, if we are not scared to dream,” the Hento Toto designer says, for the whole team.
Hento Toto is an inclusive employment program for people with intellectual disabilities based in Slovakia. It was established as a project within a non-profit organisation and is slowly becoming a sustainable social entrepreneurship. Nobody draws like they do. Why? Because they connect a group of eight artists with intellectual disabilities, withprofessional creatives. Together they draw and make graphic designs that they can turn into cheerful products that bring joy to those who use them. They define themselves as a group of colleagues, but mainly are long-term friends who learn from and inspire each other, work together and share a lot of fun. To learn more about their activities, visit their website or follow @hento_toto_official on Instagram.