Toy Tech: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary (Part 3 of 3)

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Bringing fine art techniques into a simple design sketch elevates the idea and impact.

Isn’t making the ordinary extraordinary the essence of toy ideation? We, as professionals, may only see a toy made of plastic polypropylene and finely articulated parts carefully constructed by highly trained professionals but a child sees a forever friend—a cherished memory filled with fun and laughter.

What you do as a creative professional has value—every team member is an integral part to the success of the whole and your skills are no exception. So, don’t take any of your assignments for granted. You may have been given a short amount of time to complete a task or may even have a challenging budget, but whatever you do, whatever your creative mind is tasked to produce, do it in a way that shows your dedication to the craft.

Let’s be honest for a moment and drop the corporate guard—we all have limitations in some way or another. My limitations were physical with severed tendons. I should have listened to logic and simply given up, instead I taped a pencil to my hand because I couldn’t hold it—that’s perseverance. That’s standing up when every fiber of your being screams to sit down.

I refuse to use the word—problem. I hate that word. Most every good thing that has ever happened to my career has come from overcoming such obstacles so I now see them as challenges and golden opportunities. Don’t give up. Don’t back down. Persevere and you will break through to excellence—the ordinary will become extraordinary if you want it bad enough.

The idea behind the toy, of course, must be excellent but so does every component of your project—from concept to the model and the prototype to the final toy. Any company that doesn’t strive to be excellent in all areas of the production pipeline will not be a company for very long. Those that continue to survive and thrive make the daily decision to be extraordinary while others remain ordinary.

The sketches posted within this article may not have required the level of finesse that went into them, but since I experienced the dreaded feeling of not being able to draw let alone even hold a pencil I can’t take the task of sketching for granted. I’m certainly not the best artist in the world, but I try to be the best I can be because I appreciate having the ability to draw at all.

If you were told that tomorrow you wouldn’t be able to physically do something you do so easily today, I have a funny feeling you would certainly appreciate that ability much more and hold on tight to it as long as you could. You might even fight to keep it. So, don’t take your hard earned skills for granted because they will eventually fall into atrophy if you lose your passion. You are a uniquely gifted individual—know that.

There is an old saying my mentor would repeat over and over like a mantra—if you shoot for nothing you’ll hit it every time. So, whatever position you have in our industry, I hope you know that greatness awaits you and realize just how extraordinary your ordinary can be. 

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