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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

HannahG
HannahG posted in Family Issues:
Why? You're worth so much more than that. You deserve to live, don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. You're an amazing human being, you're capable of so much more than you think you are. You're special. I know you probably think you aren't but you must certainly are. The idiots who tell you to commit suicide, well, as I said, they're IDIOTS. I know life sucks sometimes with them but don't let that end your life. Don't let them win. Prove them wrong. They're not worth your thoughts, why bother letting them take your life? They're not worth the amazing person that you are. Don't let them stop you from living your dreams, because they aren't worth them. They're just a bunch of jerks who have no heart, the devil took theirs away, don't let them take yours. Thanks for reading this. You're a great person and I really hope you decide not to do that to yourself. If you need anyone to talk to, I'm always available for you. -HannahG
reply about 1 hour
Harmonia
Harmonia posted in Family Issues:
"HannahG" wrote:I've honestly learned a lot with my parents, and with my experiences I'd like to share with you what I've learned so you don't make mistakes(although you will, I'm here to prevent as many as possible). So go grab your parents and your siblings, and listen to My Rant To Parents Across America(or mainly to my own parents, since this is what I'd tell mine). #1. The relationship between a child and his or her parent is NOT a dictatorship. Sorry to burst your bubble but it's not. See, dictators are cruel to prisoners of war or basically ANYONE and push them around in any way they want because their people should obey them. The dictator's people are his slaves. Because they should obey them, because he keeps them alive. In your case, you think that you should be the dictator because you gave them the gift of life, making them owe you themselves. Well, see, um, no. You gave them the gift of life because you LOVED them! You knew that your child may make mistakes, and you didn't care because you loved them more than anything else. You didn't give them life so they could be your slave, you gave them life because you loved them enough to let them live with you. Which brings me to my next point.... #2. Don't compare your child to other children. Don't tell them you like that person better. I thought that you loved them so much you wouldn't care about their mistakes, you gave them life knowing they may not be the best of the best, but you loved them so much you wouldn't care! Do you not have that unconditional love between a parent and their child now? Because if not, maybe you should leave yours at an adoption center and go adopt the child you're comparing them too, because they're OBVIOUSLY better. The second reason why you should never compare is because, see, I don't care if you are bff's with them on social media sites, or how often you speak to them, you probably don't know your child as good as you think. You may not know what they're going through. They may not have been the lead in the school play, but most of this generation can actually be really good at acting when you're around. So many parents think that they know their child so well, when they haven't a clue. You don't see what goes on outside that door of your house. They can hide it if they're being bullied. And you just made it worse by comparing them to someone else. This world will tear them APART. To pieces, until all that's left is a small atom left inside of them. They need to know that there's always gonna be someone there for them when they're hurting, when this world has crushed them to bits. Someone who loves them, who doesn't think anyone else in the world is better than them. You're not giving them that message when you compare them to another. And also, you don't even know the person you're comparing them to most of the time. That child could be screwed in the head and you'd have no idea. They could be a much worse child than yours is. #3. Yes, I WILL make mistakes. I'm not perfect. I'm sorry. I wish I were too. But I'm not, and you need to accept that! It hurts me when you're insulting me. That stuff makes me feel bad. You don't even know the effect you have on me. I know I say I don't care. But guess what? I'm the best actor there is at saying that. I do care. And it really hurts me when you insult me. Like, seriously, I just got home after being bullied by a girl who called my fashion style stupid, and you're treating me worse than she did. You don't know what's going on in my life! Why do you hurt me? For all you know, I could be a suicidal who's cutting themselves every night(I'm not, just using it as an example. I love life. But what other way can I get to you than by lying?)! You don't know! What if that insult could be the one thing that leads me to suicide? What if I'm gone tomorrow? I bet you'll have wished you hadn't said that now. The parents, they probably know who they are, they go insulting their child and guess what happens the next day? They're bringing a knife to their heart! Those parents feel like absolute ####, and they wish they hadn't said that. I'm not suicidal or anything, but what if someone else is? What if you don't know who that person is? You probably don't know. You don't have any idea at all the effect you can have on people. If it were me, I'd want my effect to be good. Your compliment could mean the difference of a lifetime and you'd never know. You have no idea. Please take my word, and pass this on. And thank you for reading this. -HannahG Every parent needs to read this. From my personal experience, my parents are examples of a lot of the stuff you listed above. No one's parents have a complete idea of what is going on, and by one word or one action you could make everything worse. In fact, my parents were the reason I self-harmed for the first time... But that was in the past. No kid should ever have to be slaves, be punching bags of their parents that make them miserable. Parents need to care about their kids. Isn't that what a mom or dad is?
reply about 2 hours
HannahG
HannahG posted in Family Issues:
I've honestly learned a lot with my parents, and with my experiences I'd like to share with you what I've learned so you don't make mistakes(although you will, I'm here to prevent as many as possible). So go grab your parents and your siblings, and listen to My Rant To Parents Across America(or mainly to my own parents, since this is what I'd tell mine). #1. The relationship between a child and his or her parent is NOT a dictatorship. Sorry to burst your bubble but it's not. See, dictators are cruel to prisoners of war or basically ANYONE and push them around in any way they want because their people should obey them. The dictator's people are his slaves. Because they should obey them, because he keeps them alive. In your case, you think that you should be the dictator because you gave them the gift of life, making them owe you themselves. Well, see, um, no. You gave them the gift of life because you LOVED them! You knew that your child may make mistakes, and you didn't care because you loved them more than anything else. You didn't give them life so they could be your slave, you gave them life because you loved them enough to let them live with you. Which brings me to my next point.... #2. Don't compare your child to other children. Don't tell them you like that person better. I thought that you loved them so much you wouldn't care about their mistakes, you gave them life knowing they may not be the best of the best, but you loved them so much you wouldn't care! Do you not have that unconditional love between a parent and their child now? Because if not, maybe you should leave yours at an adoption center and go adopt the child you're comparing them too, because they're OBVIOUSLY better. The second reason why you should never compare is because, see, I don't care if you are bff's with them on social media sites, or how often you speak to them, you probably don't know your child as good as you think. You may not know what they're going through. They may not have been the lead in the school play, but most of this generation can actually be really good at acting when you're around. So many parents think that they know their child so well, when they haven't a clue. You don't see what goes on outside that door of your house. They can hide it if they're being bullied. And you just made it worse by comparing them to someone else. This world will tear them APART. To pieces, until all that's left is a small atom left inside of them. They need to know that there's always gonna be someone there for them when they're hurting, when this world has crushed them to bits. Someone who loves them, who doesn't think anyone else in the world is better than them. You're not giving them that message when you compare them to another. And also, you don't even know the person you're comparing them to most of the time. That child could be screwed in the head and you'd have no idea. They could be a much worse child than yours is. #3. Yes, I WILL make mistakes. I'm not perfect. I'm sorry. I wish I were too. But I'm not, and you need to accept that! It hurts me when you're insulting me. That stuff makes me feel bad. You don't even know the effect you have on me. I know I say I don't care. But guess what? I'm the best actor there is at saying that. I do care. And it really hurts me when you insult me. Like, seriously, I just got home after being bullied by a girl who called my fashion style stupid, and you're treating me worse than she did. You don't know what's going on in my life! Why do you hurt me? For all you know, I could be a suicidal who's cutting themselves every night(I'm not, just using it as an example. I love life. But what other way can I get to you than by lying?)! You don't know! What if that insult could be the one thing that leads me to suicide? What if I'm gone tomorrow? I bet you'll have wished you hadn't said that now. The parents, they probably know who they are, they go insulting their child and guess what happens the next day? They're bringing a knife to their heart! Those parents feel like absolute ####, and they wish they hadn't said that. I'm not suicidal or anything, but what if someone else is? What if you don't know who that person is? You probably don't know. You don't have any idea at all the effect you can have on people. If it were me, I'd want my effect to be good. Your compliment could mean the difference of a lifetime and you'd never know. You have no idea. Please take my word, and pass this on. And thank you for reading this. -HannahG
reply about 2 hours
Tech-King
Tech-King posted in Friends:
Just tell him, or do what my friend did, get someone to do it for him.
reply about 2 hours
Anonymous-
Anonymous- posted in Style:
Denim shorts and white floral tank top. 
reply about 2 hours

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