How to Become a Toy Designer?

How to Become a Toy Designer?

How to Become a Toy Designer?
Sahil Dahal

Thoughtfully crafted playthings are crucial to a child's growth and development. They not only provide entertainment but also serve as valuable tools for education and skill-building that can benefit a child's future. For individuals interested in child development and a passion for creativity, pursuing a career as a toy designer could be a promising path. In this article, we delve into the role of a toy designer, their responsibilities, and the steps to embark on this exciting career journey.

What is a toy designer?

A toy designer's primary role involves envisioning and crafting innovative toy concepts. Often, they bring these designs to life independently or collaborate within a team, typically within a toy manufacturing company. Toy designers are typically individuals with strong creative abilities, drawing inspiration from various sources, including nature, their imagination, or existing toys. In this field, you may also encounter professionals called toymakers, creators, or toy engineers.

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What does a toy designer do?

A toy designer's role encompasses a range of tasks, depending on whether they work independently or for a toy company. Their responsibilities may include:

  • Conceptualizing new toy ideas.
  • Utilizing traditional tools like pens and paper or digital software to sketch and design toy concepts.
  • Incorporating elements into toys that appeal to children, parents, and manufacturers. This includes safety, educational value, sustainable materials, and long-lasting playability.
  • Presenting their toy designs to team members or management for approval.
  • Crafting prototypes of their toy concepts using appropriate materials and equipment.
  • Pitching toy concepts to toy manufacturers.
  • Preparing and submitting patent applications for their novel toy designs.

Work environment for a toy designer

The work environment for toy designers can vary depending on whether they are self-employed or employed by a toy company. Most of their work in both scenarios involves initial desk-based activities using a computer, paper, and pens to create toy designs.

If you are a self-employed toy designer, you may take your design to your workshop to construct a prototype using the appropriate materials. Subsequently, you can attempt to market this prototype to a toy company.

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However, if a toy company employs you, you become integral to a collaborative team. Your design undergoes examination and feedback from your colleagues. You may also collaborate with your team to enhance your design and provide suggestions for improvements to designs developed by your coworkers. Once approved, your design must be transformed into a prototype for safety testing and market research to gauge its appeal to children.

Skills for a toy designer

If you aspire to become a toy designer, there are several essential skills you should consider developing:

  • Creativity: Designing new toys demands a keen sense of creativity, allowing you to envision the final product even before it's created. Your ability to adapt your designs based on feedback from colleagues and focus groups is a valuable aspect of this creativity.
  • Manual Dexterity: Proficiency in working with your hands is invaluable for toy designers. This skill encompasses carpentry, mechanics, craftsmanship, basic electronics, and drawing abilities, all of which contribute to bringing your toy concepts to life.
  • Computer Proficiency: While traditional design methods using pens and paper are still relevant, modern toy design often relies on computer-aided design (CAD) software. Acquiring CAD skills can be a significant asset when pursuing a career as a toy designer.
  • Business Acumen: A grasp of business skills is crucial for those who plan to be self-employed. This knowledge aids in managing finances, understanding the workings of the toy industry, and effectively marketing your ideas. Even when employed by a toy company, some business understanding can assist in designing commercially viable toys, considering factors like profit margins and other business considerations.
  • Materials Expertise: Understanding various materials and their properties is vital when deciding how to manufacture your toy. Familiarity with different materials, along with their costs, can help you create appealing, durable, and cost-effective toys that align with your design vision, safety standards, and functionality requirements.
  • Understanding of Child Development: Knowing child development and play patterns can be highly beneficial if you design toys for children. Understanding how children play, and the types of toys they find engaging at different ages can inform your designs. Thinking from a child's perspective can also be advantageous when creating innovative and appealing toys.

How to become a toy designer

If you aspire to pursue a career as a toy designer, consider following these steps:

  • Obtain a College Degree: While becoming a self-employed toy designer without a college degree is possible, most toy manufacturers prefer candidates with formal education. If you plan to work for a toy company, consider earning a degree in a field that can enhance your skills as a toy designer. Relevant degree options include toy design, industrial design, consumer design, mechanical or electrical engineering, studio art, or behavioral science.
  • Seek Internship Opportunities: Explore internship opportunities with toy manufacturers while pursuing your college education. An internship within a toy company can provide valuable insights into the workings of the toy industry and offer hands-on experience in toy design. Additionally, it can help you establish crucial connections with industry professionals who may serve as mentors and assist you in finding employment after completing your degree.
  • Develop Key Skills: While creativity and computer literacy are essential qualities for toy designers, the competitive nature of the field may require additional skills to set you apart. Consider taking courses or acquiring expertise in areas that can bolster your profile, such as marketing, to enhance your product presentation and sales knowledge. Other beneficial subjects include textiles, familiarity with health and safety regulations, copyright law, and understanding of child development.
  • Gain Experience in a Related Field: If opportunities in toy design are limited, consider seeking positions in related design industries such as graphic design, fashion design, or game design. These roles can offer valuable experience in working with design software, handling various materials, collaborating within creative teams, and cultivating innovative design concepts. Relevant experience in these fields can bolster your resume when you apply for toy design positions.

Salary and job outlook for a toy designer

According to Indeed data, the average annual salary for a toy designer is approximately $67,816. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's important to note that job growth in industrial design, including toy designers, is anticipated to decline by 4% by 2029. This decline is partly attributed to the reduced toy production within the United States.

Nevertheless, individuals with expertise in working with sustainable materials may find more favorable job prospects, as there is a growing demand for such skills in the industry.

Furthermore, you possess skills in computer-aided design and drafting, along with experience in areas like UX (user experience), UI (user interface), and IxD (interactive design). In that case, you may have access to a broader range of job opportunities as a toy designer. These specialized skills are increasingly valuable in today's competitive job market.


What is the average salary for a toy designer?

The salary for toy designers can vary widely depending on experience and location. On average, entry-level toy designers can earn around $40,000 to $50,000 per year, while experienced designers may earn six-figure salaries.

Is a degree in toy design necessary?

While not mandatory, a degree in a related field, such as industrial design or product design, can significantly enhance your chances of success in the industry.

Are there opportunities for freelance toy designers?

Many toy designers work as freelancers or independent contractors on different companies' projects. This offers flexibility and creative freedom.

What are the biggest challenges in toy design?

One of the main challenges is creating entertaining and safe toys for children. Meeting safety regulations and staying updated with industry trends can be demanding but rewarding.

How can I stay updated with the latest toy trends?

Attend toy industry events, follow toy blogs, and connect with professionals on social media. Staying informed about the latest trends is crucial for success.

What's the most rewarding aspect of being a toy designer?

The most rewarding part is knowing that your designs bring joy and happiness to children. Seeing kids play with your creations is incredibly fulfilling.


Becoming a toy designer is a thrilling journey filled with creativity and innovation. Following the steps outlined in this guide can turn your passion for toys into a fulfilling career. Remember to stay curious, keep learning, and always aim to bring smiles to children's faces worldwide.

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