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Toy Designer Q&A

We were curious about what a toy designer actually does - is it all fun and games? How do you get such an amazing job? Check out our Q&A with Mark Barthold - a Mattel toy designer!


Kidzworld: What does a toy designer do?
I use the kid inside to create, invent and stylize toys that inspire kids to use their own imaginations, dreams...and to keep it fun!


Kidzworld: How do you get ideas for new toys?
I watch my own kids play and see what they like to play with…I get inspiration from movies and books and conventions like Comic-con in San Diego. Sometimes it's the cliche "ah-ha" moment while taking a shower or driving to work.


Kidzworld: Do you have to create a model or prototype of the toy first? What do you use to do that?
I love to tinker! There's nothing better than seeing an idea come to real life than when you're putting it together with your own hands. I'll have an idea that pops into my head, and so I need to prove if it’s going to work or not. For that, I'll build a quick prototype...sometimes chopping up other toys with similar mechanics and features, adding other parts to it from plastic, foam core, hot glue and yes...even duct tape!


Kidzworld: How do you know if a toy is going to be popular with kids or not?
Not until a toy gets into the hands of kids do you know for sure. We do a lot of research, have brainstorms coming up with multiple ideas for the same toy and ask kids which is the best. Sometimes, since I’m only 12 on the inside, I just have a gut feeling!


Kidzworld: What types of skills do you need to have to be a toy designer?
You have to be able to communicate your ideas very quickly and with a lot of verbal "pow!" Sometimes I think of doing it as a 30-second elevator pitch…it's as if you had to tell someone what you want to create by the time you get to the top floor…harder than you think! You have to be great with your hands and do drawings, make sketch models and verbally get your point across.


Kidzworld: Do you ever ask kids what kind of new toys they'd like to play with, as part of your job?
Yes, having four kids myself I do it all the time! Also we have "focus groups" and other forms of research to gather information at Mattel.


Kidzworld: Do you have to go to school to be a toy designer? What kinds of classes do you have to take?
I thinks it's best. For me it really helped a lot because it transitioned me for a routine "work schedule." By the time I was in high school I knew I wanted to do something artistic and creative. I did wind up going to college and studied industrial design, which is a fancy way of saying "designing products for mass production," and I also studied film animation. I continue to learn so much from my peers at Mattel today.


Kidzworld: What's your favorite toy that you designed?
Well, I have been at Mattel for 20 years and designed a LOT of toys and have lots of favorites…my most recent favorite is the Electrovision Championship Belt for our WWE line.


Kidzworld: What was your favorite toy as a kid?
Lego, hands down. I also loved building plastic model kits…dungeons and dragons and playing with army men.


Kidzworld: What do you see in the future for toys?
I think there will always be a place for traditional toys such as [kwlink ]Hot Wheels[/kwlink], action figures and Lego … but there will always be more creations using electronics and such, that take even video games beyond where we play with them today...making and designing those will be the jobs of all the kids reading answers to these questions now! You go kids! Can’t wait to see what you guys come up with!


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Dear Dish-It in the forums

lelnah
lelnah posted in Friends:
"Tldc_Julisha" wrote:I'm in the popular group but im trying to figure out if maybe its time to stop being in the popular group or notI like being in the group but at the same time I don't because-The other girls in the popular group are kind mean to othersThey make fun of people who don't wear what we wearThey push/shove people into lockersIs it time to leave the popular group or should I stay there??? Of course not! What kinds of people just go through their everyday lives shoving good kids into hard metal lockers? It's not right. I would never associate myself with a group like that. What kind of popular is that, shoving kids into lockers?  
reply 21 minutes
Hannah728
Hannah728 posted in Friends:
Ok i have the same problem with every guy! I have a crush on the cutest guy and i think somebody else likes him! And i mean like for sure think that they like him!
reply about 3 hours
classicalmusicisepic
"shae508" wrote: "classicalmusicisepic" wrote: my friends offline are having some relationship problems atm and there are just some things i want to mention on here, because i think they're relevant; some warning signs, etc and how to approach them. these not only apply to romantic relationships, but also friendships etc. physical harm - this might be an obvious one. but i just want to share some ways to approach the situation. this includes unwanted touching, hitting, kicking, etc. if your partner is doing this to you, you must report it to a trusted adult, teacher, counselor, close friend, or family member. this is one of the most serious abusive relationships- there are many resources online such as childline, etc, and hotlines you can call if you need to speak to someone about it. they may be able to help you get out of the relationship, and give you a shoulder to cry on. pressure into unwanted intimacy - this is also one of the big ones- your partner should never make you feel uncomfortable or otherwise. if they wish to stay with you, they will wait until you're ready to move onto that stage; if you even ever will be. if you feel pressured, or pushed into doing something you feel you'll regret, sit down and talk about it with your partner. you have a say in your relationship, too. control over your friends - if you feel like your partner has control over your friends- something is wrong. if they want you to dedicate every second of your life to them, with no other people, it's not right. your relationship not only affects the two people in it, (or more if it's polyamourous), but everyone around is affected by your relationship, too. again- you have a say in how your relationship is going, too!   criticizing you and your choices - relationships are about liking each other- if your partner is putting you down or demeaning you, it's a warning sign to get out of it. are they mocking you? or putting down your appearance, clothes, etc? Definite red flag; talk about it with him/her/them.  other signs, include: -being doted and adored one day, and the next being pushed away and ignored, -you're afraid of your partner -they obsess over and call/text you constantly -you may find you've lost your confidence -many ups and downs in the relationship, constant roller coaster -you aren't yourself. you change and adapt for them, drop hobbies if they're not into them, etc. -something tells you you cant trust them again, there are many resources out there if you need to talk. never be afraid to speak about it to someone- a family member, a teacher, a close friend, the police, a guidance counselor, etc.  I bolded that one part. The whole thread is great. And that one is a sign. But remember people with mental illness may also show signs like this to. If they have a good they they may spoil you and love you, and then the next day they're having a bad one. So they might push you away. They also may suddenly dote on you one day also to make up for a bad day. I'm not making an excuse, it's still a ver bad thing to do. I'm just putting it out there. that's a good point. 
reply about 4 hours
shae508
shae508 posted in Friends:
"classicalmusicisepic" wrote:my friends offline are having some relationship problems atm and there are just some things i want to mention on here, because i think they're relevant; some warning signs, etc and how to approach them.these not only apply to romantic relationships, but also friendships etc.physical harm - this might be an obvious one. but i just want to share some ways to approach the situation. this includes unwanted touching, hitting, kicking, etc. if your partner is doing this to you, you must report it to a trusted adult, teacher, counselor, close friend, or family member. this is one of the most serious abusive relationships- there are many resources online such as childline, etc, and hotlines you can call if you need to speak to someone about it. they may be able to help you get out of the relationship, and give you a shoulder to cry on.pressure into unwanted intimacy - this is also one of the big ones- your partner should never make you feel uncomfortable or otherwise. if they wish to stay with you, they will wait until you're ready to move onto that stage; if you even ever will be. if you feel pressured, or pushed into doing something you feel you'll regret, sit down and talk about it with your partner. you have a say in your relationship, too.control over your friends - if you feel like your partner has control over your friends- something is wrong. if they want you to dedicate every second of your life to them, with no other people, it's not right. your relationship not only affects the two people in it, (or more if it's polyamourous), but everyone around is affected by your relationship, too. again- you have a say in how your relationship is going, too!  criticizing you and your choices - relationships are about liking each other- if your partner is putting you down or demeaning you, it's a warning sign to get out of it. are they mocking you? or putting down your appearance, clothes, etc? Definite red flag; talk about it with him/her/them. other signs, include:-being doted and adored one day, and the next being pushed away and ignored,-you're afraid of your partner-they obsess over and call/text you constantly-you may find you've lost your confidence-many ups and downs in the relationship, constant roller coaster-you aren't yourself. you change and adapt for them, drop hobbies if they're not into them, etc.-something tells you you cant trust themagain, there are many resources out there if you need to talk. never be afraid to speak about it to someone- a family member, a teacher, a close friend, the police, a guidance counselor, etc.  I bolded that one part. The whole thread is great. And that one is a sign. But remember people with mental illness may also show signs like this to. If they have a good they they may spoil you and love you, and then the next day they're having a bad one. So they might push you away. They also may suddenly dote on you one day also to make up for a bad day. I'm not making an excuse, it's still a ver bad thing to do. I'm just putting it out there.
reply about 6 hours
jordand08
jordand08 posted in Friends:
No problem!
reply about 6 hours

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