To become a toy designer, creative individuals should begin by pursuing a degree in art or graphics and work on creating new toy and game ideas to market to manufacturers of children's products. These students may also wish to take classes that teach basic crafting skills, such as sewing and carpentry. Some inventors who prefer to oversee toy and game products from a broad perspective, but do not enjoy the initial creative process, may instead choose to seek employment directly from existing toy manufacturers.
The job responsibilities for those who wish to become a toy designer are to create new types of toys and toy lines. A toy may be defined as any hand held entertainment created for and marketed to children specifically, including board games, but usually not video games. The designer should have extensive computer and graphics arts capabilities. The toy design is typically sketched first before being rendered in 3D in a graphics program. The builder then uses this model to make a prototype of the design which is presented for approval.
A student who wishes to become a toy designer should pursue a post-secondary education in art or computer programming with a focus in graphic art. Some schools offer undergraduate degrees specifically in the field of toy design, though it is not technically necessary to possess one of these to gain entrance into this field. Students should have an abundance of natural creativity with an aptitude for connecting with children and understanding what interests them. Though toy designers do often have market research teams at their disposal that analyze what types of toys are selling well at given times, many designers choose to rely on their own intuition to create innovative and popular products.
Students may work on personal projects while completing their degrees, or actively pursue employment with toy manufacturers as they near graduation. Some artists become a toy designer by inventing a model or game of their own design and construction and selling it to a larger manufacturer. The inventor develops the project in this type of situation from idea, to model, to prototype, to working finished product. He then takes it to various companies which actively seek new children's products where, if the toy works well, he may be offered a full purchase of the new toy or an option that includes royalties. Some designers prefer to work for the manufacturer directly, and may only be involved in various aspects of larger projects that are conceptualized and developed by the company rather than directly by the designer.
Artists may find it beneficial to take classes and workshops in a variety of hand crafts, such as sewing, metal work, engineering and carpentry. This skills can teach individuals on the path to become a toy designer in mastering the basic design mechanics that are used to create a wide variety of children's items and games. The designer with this type of background is typically better able to finish his own toy to completion, and is not limited by his own lack of knowledge in the area of physical construction.