Spielwarenmesse: Toy design: from the tested product to the market

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Toy design: from the tested product to the market

from Eva Stemmer und Jörg Meister

In a four-part series, we take as an example a product moving along this path - from target group analysis through to readiness for start of production. The three preceding parts examined consumers, the product idea and concept as well as the product and its properties in relation to the design and packaging. This final and fourth part studies the sensitive topic of product safety and concludes with the product’s completed production as presented to the public at the Spielwarenmesse®.

More than the sum of its parts

A good product convinces in more ways than one: it guides the user intuitively and is easily worth the investment; it is marked by its quality, functionality and look and naturally, it is safe to use. Its appealing positioning in the retail trade means that consumers perceive all of its beneficial properties.

The design should accommodate the production technology as well as the product’s aesthetic attributes. The design helps to incorporate not only constructional, but also user-related requirements into the product. The decisive point here lies in the choice of materials and technical solutions. They definitely express the product’s safety and its properties. For example, the chosen material not only determines the product’s stability, longevity and sustainability, but naturally also its price, producibility, function and acceptance by the market.

The highly-sensitive baby items and toys segment requires that the materials used satisfy strict regulations. Manufacturers must ensure that the choice of materials and thus the contents comply with standards. This is guaranteed by independent testing institutes. Standardisation institutions as well as testing & inspection centres make sure that the quality and safety of toys that go on sale progress as the product evolves. And even Spielwarenmesse® is dedicated to what is often considered a delicate yet much debated topic by providing a platform with its Testing & Inspecting Center.

The material and design both condition the production method and site. The product price aimed at, the number of units and the delivery period particularly influence this choice – as do the standards and conditions based on which production takes place at the preferred site.

Depending on the brand and product philosophy it must therefore be assessed whether sustainability, regionality and traceability of the delivery chain shall be the focus, or whether other factors such as volume or price are more important. Each brand must define its own path which ultimately outlines its profile and image and determines the sales channel.

Of course, established manufacturers and brand owners take a different approach compared to new labels which have not been exposed to market restrictions to-date.

From tested product to the market

The Spielwarenmesse® in Nuremberg is a crucial platform for launching new products in the toy segment. It is a meeting point for key players and experts: from manufacturing sites to designers, testing & inspection institutes and logistics partners, to licensors, distributors, buying communities, retailers and the press.

The newly-developed product thus finds its way to the consumer, triggering an initial ripple. To show for all the efforts that went into a product’s development up until this point and to live up to the relevance of the innovations, the respective product presentation at the trade fair should be a focal point. After all, this is the first point of contact that customers have with the new product – and the first impression should ideally be positive, lasting, and possibly backed by the respective advertising material or media support.

The launch of a full range of articles should ideally be accompanied by showcasing options geared specifically to the retail trade. Even the respective placement of trade show innovations, paired with information for the press at the press centre, benefits the launch of a new product.

Once all of these preparations have been taken care of, nothing will stand in the way of a successful product launch.


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