The GoodHerald has an interesting description on how toys make it to the hands of kids and collectors. Back in the day people simply had an idea and started working on sewing it together or shaping the wooden blocks into what they want.
Today the process is quite more complex. It starts with a lot of research and development. The toy companies have huge teams of specialists.
Some of them have the task of thinking up new toy designs and features. Then other teams have the tasks of researching how to make them into reality. This includes the materials to use, how to realize the features and if they are at all possible. The teams also take into account whether the toy is economically feasible. This means whether the company will make a profit from the toy while keeping the price as low as possible.
There are hundreds of ideas coming up each year. Most don’t get even to the prototype stage. Others turn out to evolve in different toys. If a toy reaches a prototype stage, the next phase is testing. The company has to ensure that the toy is completely safe for the kids. This includes safe materials and features. Also they test how the toy will break and whether the pieces could hurt someone.
When the company is satisfied with the results, the toy moves on to the next stage – focus groups. Usually those are groups of kids who get into a room filled with toys. The kids are free to play with any toy they like. Researchers observe which toys the kids naturally go for and with which they actually play more.
Often this shows the company a lot of new ideas. Kids often show entirely new ways to play with the toys. The designers use that information to further improve the toys. Then it’s a matter of going into production and shipping the new toys to the stores.
Of course, sometimes no one can predict how the people will react to the toys for sure. Despite going through extensive research, sometimes the people don’t really respond to the toy and don’t buy it. Other times there are unexpected market hits like the fidget spinners. There’s no exact science on how to make great toys, but one thing is for sure. The great toys always respond to your heart and make you happy and feel better.