Founded in 1951, Colorforms is one of the oldest and best-known brands in the toy industry. It was the very first plastic-based creative toy, and one of the first toys ever advertised on television.
Colorforms are paper-thin, die-cut vinyl sheet images and shapes that are meant to be applied to a shiny plastic laminated board, much like placing paper dolls against a paper backdrop. The images stick to the background by adhesion, which takes place when two highly polished surfaces come in contact. The Colorforms vinyl pieces can be repositioned to create new designs and scenarios.
Colorforms oddly enough grew out of the progressive trend in the 1950's to create toys that were somehow beneficial to a kid's psychological well-being: these were (ostensibly) toys that helped kids learn and grow through play, stimulating their imaginations and creativity. To that end, the first Colorforms set was made up of little plastic shapes, of different colors. Kids could combine the shapes and colors to make their own pictures of whatever they liked.
The 1970's was probably the hayday of Colorforms, with dozens of sets devoted to such subjects as Evel Knievel, Star Trek, or Holly Hobbie. But the brand survives to this day, and as millions of kids discover to their delight, despite the obvious enticements of modern video amusements, this simple little plastic and cardboard toy can still offer many hours of quiet imaginative fun.