How Great Toys Are Made – And Not Made

It probably sounds like paradise to design toys and merch for media tie-ins; the problem is that you have odd deadlines, rejected ideas, and things that seemed cool at the time that embarrass you. Oh, and then there’s having to relocate because people need to get ears right.

Four years ago Action Figure Insider had an article on rejected toys by Jason Geyer, who was hip- deep in star wars merch design. He’s updated this with additional information on the crazy ideas that came out. Jabba the Hutt beanbags, laval lamps, and more are all here.

This is a great insight into merch/toy design, what it’s like, and what it’s like to work in that area – as well as how crazy your imagination can get or has to get. I enjoyed such gems as:

  • The manufacturing constraints and why design has to be done so early.
  • Why Jar-Jar’s ears required the writer to live in China for awhile.
  • The influence of Disney.
  • Darth Vader potato chip clip. No I’m not kidding.

MUST READ here. Also I need to interview this guy . . .

Steven Savage

Wither the Merchandise?

I've been pondering the future of enjoyable collectible stuff for fans.

You know what I'm talking about.  The plastic collectibles, plushies, bobbleheads, etc. 

I've been wondering what the economic future of these is, to be frank.  Little useless trinkets may be fun and collectible, but in a touch economy, I figure they're going to get less and less attention (and as I expect it to be years for the economy to recover, this could be awhile).  There's far more payoff in a rare video, a neat book, etc. than something that presents no other use than ownership.

So I wonder if the collectibles are going to take a hit in the geekonomy and the fannish economy.

This is a casual speculation, but these collectibles form the basis of some specialty stories, they're big at conventions, etc.  This would in turn affect the social experience of fans as stores close, change focus, etc.

Just some idle, geekonomic speculation.

– Steven Savage