What does a Toy Designer do?

Cassie L. Damewood

A toy designer conceives and implements ideas for toys. He is typically inspired by imagination or the observation of another toy or product. A toy designer may be an independent inventor or contractor or work for a small or large toy manufacturer.

Learning woodworking skills may be beneficial for toy designers.
Learning woodworking skills may be beneficial for toy designers.

After his initial inspiration, a toy designer normally sketches a picture of his idea, often from a few different angles and perspectives. Once he deems the drawing is balanced and has the correct angles to become a viable, three-dimensional object, he generally proceeds to build a prototype of the toy. He frequently photographs and dates each stage of his model’s development to ensure the originality of the idea cannot be challenged in the future.

There are no standard educational requirements for becoming a toy designer.
There are no standard educational requirements for becoming a toy designer.

After the prototype is complete, a toy designer normally proceeds in one of three directions. If he is an independent inventor with funds available to patent and market his creation, he typically obtains a patent or patent pending application, generally with the assistance of a patent attorney. Next, he commonly hires a qualified manufacturer to build the toy. His initial order is normally small as his next step often includes testing the product’s appeal with the age group of children for which it is intended.

If the toy is well received, the toy designer ordinarily proceeds to have it mass-produced and launches a marketing campaign. He may hire advertising and public relations professionals to help sell the toy to the largest demographic. In some cases, a toy manufacturer may approach him at this juncture to buy the invention.

Most independent toy designers require the assistance of an established toy manufacturer to market their toy. In these cases, the designer typically presents his prototype to a number of companies in hopes they will buy the idea and manufacture the product. The manufacturer may purchase the idea outright or arrange a profit or royalty sharing program with the designer.

In the event a toy manufacturer employs him, the designer is usually presents his design to his superior for review and consideration. If the toy is determined to be highly marketable, the designer commonly proceeds to develop his next idea. Once he comes up with an innovation he feels would appeal to a large segment of children, the next prototype is built and the cycle continues.

There are no clearly defined educational requirements to become a toy designer. Many in this profession have training or experience in carpentry, art, industrial design or computer-aided design. A considerable number of toy manufacturers prefer a college education for toy designer job applicants although it is rarely a mandatory requirement.

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Discussion Comments


I think the toy companies make most of the real money and the toy designers get a decent salary, and like @Animandel said, the designers probably have good job security when they do a good job. However, I have read that the designers who come up with very successful toys do get big bonuses sometimes when the companies they work for are doing well. I can think of worse ways to earn a paycheck.


I bet toy designers make a nice salary. There is a large market for children's toys, and since babies are being born everyday there is no shortage of potential customers. Even during tough economic times, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are going to buy toys. They may buy cheaper toys, but they are going to buy something.

If nothing else, a toy designer career should offer job security, if not fame and fortune.


Don't judge me by my taste in TV programs. I saw a movie where a man somehow got turned back into a kid. The kid in the adult's body worked as a toy designer. This is a far fetched and crazy plot, but you have to admit that the best people to design toys are kids. The kids are the ones who play with the toys, so who better than them would know which types of toys are more likely to sell and be played with?

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