Spreading Your Wings-Breaking in to Toy Design-Part 5
This final article will call to attention something a commenter named Jim Bousman brought up in comments on previous articles. Jim is well established within the toy and gaming industry and knows a great deal about what it takes to get hired within the market. So what was the additional skill that he looks for when hiring toy designers that we didn’t mention? More on that in a sec.
The reason we didn’t mention the item brought up by Jim it is that our research showed us that the specific skill mentioned wasn’t needed for an entry level position. So while this skill isn’t “needed,” it can be the thing that differentiates you from others who may be applying for the same position. Any additional skill you can wrangle and add to your resume can only help in guaranteeing that you are the one chosen for the job.
This specific skill is having some knowledge of toy engineering. How do toys work? How are they constructed and put together? How are they made? Knowing these kind of things will go a long ways in helping you make effective, functional and innovative designs. I’ll quote Jim’s wisdom here, “A designer does not need to be an engineer to know how things work, but knowing how things work improves their ability to create better products, challenge manufacturers to do a better job, and exploit their processes. ” All of those things also contribute to making you an invaluable asset to any toy company you may work for. This is great currency for job security and hireability.
Artwork copyright Terry Dodson
So how do you get this information? I’ll quote our commenter here as well, “Some design schools specializing in 3D design will offer limited insight into manufacturing processes and other practical applications. Beyond that there is a wealth of information available for self-study. The net is a great place to start. Beyond that on-site visits to manufacturing facilities are extremely useful. Much depends on the product category you are interested in. When it comes to toy design, since most toy are molded plastic, study and/or visit a plastic molder. When it comes to board games or puzzles, visit a printer. Areas like plush toy design or toy electronics are very specialized and will require a bit more research to find a source of knowledge.
Perhaps the best source of hands-on knowledge would come from an internship with either a manufacturer, toy design house, or toy inventor group. These jobs pay little or nothing but the practical knowledge is invaluable and it can be a great door opener to better things.”
Thank you Jim Bousman, for your wise and thoughtful contributions to the substance of our series of articles.
In closing, the Illustration industry is vast! I guarantee you there is work available for you out there that you haven’t considered or been aware of. The various amount of work that is potentially available to you is myriad. Unfortunately more often than not we artists tend to focus on the more easily discerned and popular options. These articles and this website are meant to show you how your skills can and do travel into other areas.
So take your time, research all your options and approach them as though they are your primary interest. What may sound like a fun idea at first upon investigation may seem too daunting a field to undertake and pursue. But if you are passionate about it and feel that it is something worth the work and time investment on your part then by all means pursue it with all your heart. Go the extra mile.
We have decided to dedicate our first season of podcasts to the world of toy design. We’ll be interviewing professionals within the industry and picking their brains for further insight and wisdom into this market! So stay tuned for even more information and personal experiences in the future!
Let us know if you have any questions!