Spielwarenmesse: Toy design: the path to new products

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  Movers & shakers

Movers & shakers

Toy design: the path to new products

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 first part focused on consumers. After all, it is their very needs which the product shall satisfy. This second part is about the product as such.

What should a “good toy” have? What materials are used? What about sustainability, standards and production? – and how do the individual products merge to create a unified brand image in the end?    

Added-value products

To play is to learn. By playing, a child acquires many skills. Children train their coordination and cognitive abilities. They learn social competence and increase their frustration tolerance by losing or failing at a game every now and then. This practically turns every game into a learning curve even if this is not expressly promoted.

Manufacturers of children’s toys must know how to serve the individual needs and contents of children of every age. Whereas social skills and competitive games tend to be the focus for older children, babies and infants initially need to train their sensory perception most and for all. They have to learn to “grasp” their surroundings before finding direction in it and being able to socialise accordingly.

Consequently, good toys command such a formality and substance of design which meets the needs of children at their respective age.

Safe products

This naturally also includes the right choice of materials and production methods. When considering the intended use and function, the material must have special physical and aesthetic properties. The material and the finished toy must comply with hygiene, ecological and health-related requirements.

With standards and regulations on the one hand and producibility, sustainability and efficiency aspects on the other, it is the aim of toy developers to design encouraging and demanding products for children within these limitations.

Toys for infants

In our case we wish to take a closer look at the development of a toy series which encourages the sensory development in infants.

These toys must have an attractive design for children, meaning they must be easy to grasp. Also, their shape and material must stimulate the child’s tactile senses. The little users are likely to regularly pop the toys in their mouths so that eliminating harmful substances of the material and a saliva-proof structure is paramount.

The size and weight of the toys as well as their stability must be adapted to the children’s ergonomic reality. Only then can a toy series become a successful product line under a recognisable brand family.

The next part of the series will show how to determine product features and how a creative packaging and product presentation for the retail trade can positively impact the POS.

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