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All week long we’ll be taking a look at the popularity of the Design Toy movement and how its influence has spread into the mainstream toy market and ask what is it and why is it so popular?

So what is a Designer Toy?

Essentially Designer Toys take on a myriad of different forms from vinyl figures created by independent artists to mass market outputs such as those from titan Funko and their hugely popular Pop Vinyl line.


Designer Toys for us though really do inhabit the space of the independent artist’s who use toys and physical models as the medium for their creativity and one of the most popular platform for this movement is KidRobot who really celebrate and showcase the independent’s who pour their talents onto a plethora of figural forms from Vinyl Donald Trump’s to collectible figures based on mass market licenses like the Simpsons. The independent space is truly bottomless and vast as, unlike large corporate entities, they have no creative guidelines or rules in place that govern their outputs. Instead they are free to design and create in their own image.


Its this variation that really makes the Designer space so interesting as every creative is different and evolving and so therefore is the space that they operate in often by using their outputs to really stamp their mark on the industry. Design is such a loaded word as it can cover pretty much any form of considered artistic expression but often the further away from “Realism” the subject is the more in-line and associated with the Designer movement that it becomes.

The movement has bled into so many other genres that seemed almost impervious to anything other than total source material realism such as the Star Wars toy market with its Black Series line or extended figures from licensee’s like Sideshow that stick to the honest and integral look of the character and their worlds but even they broke rank years back with Hasbro’s Mighty Mugg line.

The sadly now discontinued Disney Infinity line of figures (which yes were purpose built for the Toys to Life space) were a perfect example of a figure line that allowed expression and a relaxed sense of realism to govern their design and became hugely popular doing so. Many other’s such as KidRobot’s creatons and even the more core mainstream manufacturer’s like Beast Kingdom have lines that rely on a stylised approach that marries both designer inputs with core licenses to create a hybrid space of truly designed toys.


Last modified: May 3, 2017

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