Megan Hunter - Toy Design
Mattel's new digital group was "for
designers, by designers." While working
with Design to bring life to their ideas,
we were taught toy fundamentals.
Emotional triggers, safety concerns,
marketing needs, manufacturing costs.
A toy can take years to develop, and
we got to learn each step along the
way. We were animators and movie
makers, but our intimate knowledge
allowed us to speed up not only our
production time, but the product itself.
Then, in the autumn of 2003, Mattel was
holding a contest. They tried to do these
fun things every year or so, and this time
around it was for designing a new action
figure line. Here's the sneaky part: any
Mattel employee could participate, even
the janitors if they felt up to it. Which
meant I could give it a chance. My entry
ended up getting first place, and besides
winning a very tasty $1000 bucks I
managed to show folks that animation
wasn't the only thing I knew how to do.
My toy design duties really expanded after
that. Every month, the shocked response
would change. "Wait, you know how to
draw? Whoa, you know how to write?"
That sounds pretty funny as I went to an
art school, but Mattel was so large and its
process so segmented, it was easy to only
see one aspect of a person. Lately I'd done
mostly design work...which meant I could
use my animations and digital work to
produce my concepts quickly and
effectively, and help out later in the pipeline.