From guest blogger Krishnan Srirangam, Senior Designer at Lund and Company for over 18 years
We play-test a lot of toys as they hit the shelves. It gives us an understanding into the ever-changing world of consumerism, provides us with inspiration, and reassures us of our place in the toy food chain. A toy with all its packaging, plastic, and assembly should be a joy from the minute it is brought home and unpacked.
With such a hope and eagerness, we recently bought a toy that is based on a new movie from an evergreen property. The illustration on the package makes it look thrilling; the TV commercial, interspersed with dramatic footage from the movie, casts it with camera angles that make your heart pound. If I were an 8 year old, I would hound my parents to buy me this toy right now, this very minute.
Will a product be a success or not? It seems impossible to know.
Much to the surprise of one of our favorite European partner companies, the RoboFish that they are marketing has become a monster for them this year, and other, perhaps more amazing new introductions, not so much.
We love what we do and do it with passion - we can’t help developing an affinity and affection for some of the people we have worked with over the years. We wanted to show these valued clients just that.
It began with a red carpet that we rolled out for them leading to our front door. Well, it was yellow, actually, that being our official team color.
There were giant bouquets of helium-filled balloons anchored to toys that we had licensed to them over the years lining the yellow carpeted walkway.
Everything starts with just an idea, fragile, intangible, like a bubble almost, easily quashed or forgotten. But, when allowed to exist, nurtured, and encouraged an idea can grow and in time become real, even magnificent.
As the leader of our team, sometimes my best work is done when I stand back and let our spectacular team go on a project.
For example, a few months ago two of our team members were invited to the offices of a major toy company where they were introduced to each of the product category teams, had meeting after meeting scheduled all day long, followed by a dinner and spirited conversation.
They returned feeling that it had been a very special day, and the hospitality shown them was exemplary.