At D2M we have over a decade of experience developing toy products for many clients. We are exceptionally skilled in the design and prototyping of toy and educational products, ranging from character toys, toys for babies and other toy products including toys with basic electronics.
Toy Design is an exciting area of product development where Industrial Design, Character & Theme Design, and Child Psychology are blended. Toys are developed to delight, to teach, and to inspire curiosity for children. The toy market is also strongly driven by aesthetics, colour, and character design.
If you have a new toy idea, there are some things to consider about how you develop your product.
What the intended age category is will influence a lot of decisions in toy design. Most importantly, it affects safety regulations which are most stringent for younger age categories. These regulations will impact shapes, sizes, and features, so identifying these constraints early on is critical. They will also vary depending on what countries you want to sell your product in.
The age group will also tell you what play patterns are appropriate. A toy that is fascinating for a two-year-old may be of no interest to five-year-old. Using our knowledge of developmental milestones, we can create toy features and play patterns that are engaging for your target age group.
Lastly, identifying your age group will tell you who your competitors are in the space so you can evaluate how your product will stack up.
Once you know your age group, you can compare your concept to other toys in that target market. The toy industry is huge and there are a lot of players. Is your concept innovative and achieving something new in this space? Will it stick out on a crowded shelf? Or if you are selling direct to consumer, what will draw people to your website?
These are important questions to ask yourself. To find success, you want an innovative idea with a unique selling story. The toy market is highly competitive, but a newcomer with a fresh idea can shake up the industry.
No matter the function, the visuals of a toy are key. From simple wood toys to complex electronic items, you want to draw the child in to encourage play and exploration.
Sometime innovation in toy design is not a feature, but a unique character style, colour palette, or material. Having a new take on the look and feel of product can make classic features feel fresh. B Toys in Canada is a great example of a brand that stands out due to its unique colour palette and character style.
What parents are drawn to and what kids are drawn to are not always the same thing. Its good to keep in mind for baby and toddler toys that the parent, grandparent, or gift giver are choosing the product. Balancing what makes a fun toy and what appeals to the purchaser is important.
This will vary depending on the complexity of the toy you are looking to develop as well as your overall vision for your brand. For example, a wooden toy would be much simpler to produce than an electronic toy as you have no tooling and no electronics to code or develop. A textile product also requires no tooling but could involve a lot of artwork development. Plastic electronic toys typically require a bit heavier lifting. Depending on the electronic feature, you may need music and sound design, as well as coding for lights and the product features.
If you are trying to establish a look for a brand, your project may involve character, theme, and colour palette development. This can be easily underestimated, but the right look can make or break a toy brand.
No matter what your toy idea is, market research and play testing are never bad ideas. Market research can tell you more about what your target customer is willing to pay and what features they think are the most valuable. And play testing will tell you if kids are even interested! It is worth noting, you will want a decent sample size for play testing to get a more balanced sense what kids think.
Toy development is an exciting process where you get to create objects focused on fun and personality. This skill set can be quite different from traditional product design, and sensitivity to character, colour, and trend can make a huge difference. Let us guide you with our in house knowledge of toy development to create playful solutions that bring your project to life.
If you’re looking to develop a new product or re-design an existing range but lack the in-house capacity or expertise to make it a reality, get in touch with us today to discuss your requirements.