Toy & Game Design

No matter what a child’s interest is – well, there’s a toy for that. What many people don’t realize, however, is that there is no magical toy machine that pops out new and amazing toys at regular intervals. Designing and creating toys is a major process. Behind every new toy, from the simplest building block to the most complicated new fangled robot, sits a toy designer. If you've ever considered doing something creative that also lends itself to childhood play, product development, and learning, becoming a toy designer might be the most fulfilling career imaginable.


Toy & Game Design at a Glance

While “cave-children” probably didn’t build and smash LEGO forts or shave their Barbies’ heads, historians believe that they still played with primitive toys. The evolution in toys can be mapped as below :

  • Before the 20th century children had few toys and those they did have were precious; eg. Egyptian children played with toys like dolls, toy soldiers, wooden animals, marbles, spinning tops and knuckle bones (which were thrown like dice).
  • The industrial revolution allowed toys to be mass produced and they gradually became cheaper.
  • John Spilsbury made the first jigsaw puzzle in 1767. He intended to teach geography by cutting maps into pieces, but soon people began making jigsaws for entertainment.
  • Many new toys were invented in the 20th century--with the arrival of an affluent society, plastic and metal toys became much cheaper and much more common. In the 1950s Lego became a popular toy.
  • Skateboards were first sold in 1958. Barbie dolls were invented in 1959 and Action Man went on sale in 1966.
  • At the end of the 20th century, computer games started becoming very popular.

Toy Designers perform the following tasks on a regular basis :

  • Toy designers often create the toys from the ground up – this means sketching or CAD drawings of the original concept and creating a prototype
  • Toys must be intricately designed, mainly because there are many safety regulations involved and the toy must meet certain standards after repeated and harsh treatment
  • Toy designers may work with a whole team or alone to create a new concept
  • They may be responsible for estimating production cost as well as retail price to get the production of the toy approved through their company
  • So, the toy designer may wear a number of hats, from creativity and business to marketing

The most obvious attribute for someone who works as a toy designer is a love for toys. If you're considering this field, you should be excited about toy development and the ideas surrounding improved play for all ages.

The core skills and specifications that an individual must have include the following :

  • Good spatial and visual awareness
  • Well developed creative and technical skills.
  • Proficiency in computers especially with designing software
  • Superb interpersonal and communication skills

About Toy & Game Design Schools

Sr No. College/Institute Courses Seats
1. National Institute of Design M.Des in Toy and Game Design 10

The general Program Structure is as follows :

  • The M. Des programme in “Toy and Game Design” aims to develop a professional and creative approach to the growing needs and aspirations in the field of education and entertainment
  • Modules include: elements of play, game theory, character design, user research methods provide specialized inputs, etc.
  • The project based pedagogy helps students to choose projects of their choice and integrate creative ideas with practical know-how in order to come up with innovative designs.
  • Students work on design projects of their choice ranging from heritage toys, digital games, educational play material to sports equipment and designs for futuristic scenarios.
  • An active student exchange programme with Dept. of Play and Learning, Burg Giebichenstein, School of art and design, Halle, Germany as well as collaborative classroom projects with industries provide a rich exposure to students.
  • The emphasis on innovation-led designs helps students to begin their career in a spectrum of industries or start their own enterprises.

About the Work Industry/Job Market

Toy & Game design graduates can work in the following roles :

  • Toy maker
  • Toy engineer
  • Toy creator
  • Game developer
  • Toy Designer
  • Game Designer

If you have kids in the house, it’s likely there is also a closet full of discarded toys. Children change rapidly. As do their playthings and so does the market that feeds that change :

  • Once upon a time, toys were something a child held.
  • Then they were something a child played on a screen.
  • Then they were things as likely to be collected by adults as loved by a child.
  • Now they are often all these things all at once.
  • Today's toys are often manufactured by a few large companies, so the career path is highly competitive, especially for designers looking for full-time employment.

Following are the best companies/studios in India to work in this discipline :

  • Pink Elefant
  • Ankama Studio
  • Arkane Studios
  • Cyanide Studio
  • Darkworks DTC
  • Eden Games
  • Etranges Libellules
  • Eugen Systems
  • Eversim
  • F4 Fandango Games