The Colorforms concept was developed by Harry and Patricia Kislevitz in 1951, firmly rooted in the design ethos and reflecting the abstract style prevalent at the time.
The basic concept behind Colorforms is the ability to adhere and reposition abstract and geometric color form shapes on random surfaces to create art. Both recent art students, the couple discovered the idea when they acquired several rolls of flexible paper-thin colored vinyl used to manufacture plastic pocketbooks, and found that it would stick to the glossy paint in their bathroom and allow them to reposition it at will without affecting either surface. Simply cutting shapes out of the material and sticking them to the wall turned out to be amusing enough that they left extra vinyl with a pair of scissors for guests to add to their creation. The positive reactions they got to the project led Harry to believe there was market potential for a product.
The original Colorforms sets were spiral-bound booklets hand-assembled by the husband and wife team in their New York city apartment. The first 1,000 sets were sold '' to the toy store. Shallow boxed sets containing screen-printed, die-cut pieces, and illustrated backgrounds began appearing soon after. The company used the slogan in print ads and television commercials to promote their products. Prominent graphic designer was commissioned to create the company logo that remains in use today; he also gave input for a 'signature' edition play set.
Colorforms are sheet-thin, die-cut pieces, in colorful geometric "forms" and abstract shapes (figural or object), often with over-printed images that are to be attached to a smooth plastic laminated background, much like placing against a paper backdrop. The pieces stick to the background without chemical or static , and in a secure, but non-permanent manner when a is created between the two polished surfaces, holding the piece in place. The Colorforms vinyl pieces can then be repositioned on the board a virtually unlimited number of times to create new designs and scenarios. The sets aide in promoting creative expression, concentration skills, comprehension of spatial relationships, and manual dexterity in young children.