We’ve got a great guest post from a toy design hero of mine today! Gisela Voss is the designerly brains behind one of my favorite plastic toy brands, B. toys (I’ve featured them – here, here, and here). It’s not just her long resume, it’s her ability to strike it out on her own. She’s gathered talented like-minded people around her, and created a successful new brand. B. toys aligns with who she is: irreverent, high-quality, charitable, uniquely designed, and damn good fun. In the world of toys, that’s amazing (and unfortunately kind of rare). I’ve asked for her take on last week’s New York International Toy Fair.
Over 1000 toy manufacturers/exhibitors from around the globe gathered at New York’s Toy Fair last week.
Aisle after aisle after aisle of playthings: the newest electronic gizmos, the game-of-the-year hopefuls, the yappy dogs, the hi-tech RCs, the doll eyeballs, the dollhouse miniatures, the movie tie-in licensed properties. Visually overwhelming. And mostly….. ugly.
If I was going to round up my favorites for a group hug, they’d include the folks I admire, those pushing the uniqueness envelope, those creating something special, those designing beautiful things:
- HAPE – with its eco-responsible bamboo mission.
- Eeboo – and its fabulously illustrated creations.
- Boon - and its outta-the-box designs which I find so beautiful I would use them to decorate my home.
Our children’s toys end up taking over our living rooms, our dining rooms, our kitchens. We invest care and attention into selecting décor objects for our homes… from throw pillows on our sofa, to our dinner dishes, our bedspreads, our lamps. Why do we bring in so many God-awful toys that are poorly made, fleeting in pleasure, and really just utterly unattractive?
One of the tenets of B. is to be B.eautiful enough to leave out when company comes over. We are firmly committed to the notion that even plastic toys can be lovely. To that end, we design toys in unexpected earth tones like olive and plum, decorate them with world textile patterns and even etch textural patterns into the plastic molds themselves.
After spending 5 days at Toy Fair. I’m so glad we do.