Who designs the figures?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by VaderPrime1, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. VaderPrime1

    VaderPrime1 Prepare for termination!

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Posts:
    5,194
    News Credits:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    196
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Likes:
    +20
    Instagram:
    Flickr:
    YouTube:
    What is their job title and what kind of college degrees do most of them have? What type of design are they listed under?
     
  2. collectthem

    collectthem Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2010
    Posts:
    104
    Trophy Points:
    56
    Likes:
    +0
    I know there is a lot of engineering and CAD is mandatory. I use to work at Mattel and its not fun designing, and those were just simple Hot wheels.
     
  3. Seawing

    Seawing Lurker of the depths Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Posts:
    4,021
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    207
    Likes:
    +5
    I would guess their job title would be "Toy Designer" and they would probably have art backgrounds, specifically Industrial Design.
     
  4. LatinJEM777

    LatinJEM777 TFW's Premier Shredder

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Posts:
    462
    Trophy Points:
    81
    Likes:
    +0
    These people get a degree in Industrial Design. In industrial design, there are several divisions, including toy design, shoe design, automotive, etc.

    Depending on what company you work at as an Industrial Designer, you have a ratio of sketching, CAD modeling, and physical models to mock up to complete projects (in this case toys).

    I have a buddy who co-oped at Hasbro (not the transformers dept.), and he told me that it's mostly sketching (including concept art, and color spec sheets). Those designs get sent out to some Asian company to do the engineering (in the case of Transformers, I heard it's Takara).
     
  5. VaderPrime1

    VaderPrime1 Prepare for termination!

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2008
    Posts:
    5,194
    News Credits:
    20
    Trophy Points:
    196
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Likes:
    +20
    Instagram:
    Flickr:
    YouTube:
    Awesome! That's what I was thinking. I'm wanting to go in that direction for college. If not that, I'd want to do something in concept art, like Josh Nizzi.

    Right now I'm taking classes at a vocational school that deal with design and I'm hoping they can help me get my foot in the door... and I'm still in high school. :D 
     
  6. Tigermegatron

    Tigermegatron Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Posts:
    2,027
    Trophy Points:
    151
    Likes:
    +3
    from what i've read takara designers in japan do all the hard work. like putting the toy engineering into each TF toy.

    while all hasbro seems to do is design a few art sketches on paper. flesh out the character bio & cartoon series story arcs.
     
  7. ComicGuy89

    ComicGuy89 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    Posts:
    3,356
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Likes:
    +5
    Best of luck to you, you could be our next Botcon speaker!
     
  8. thedrknss48

    thedrknss48 Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Posts:
    1,776
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    146
    Likes:
    +2
    This is also possibly a good question to ask for one of those Hasbro Q&A.
     
  9. harrismonkey

    harrismonkey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2009
    Posts:
    5,285
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    202
    Likes:
    +32
    This.

    I'm not 100% sure, but I've been getting a very strong vibe for a long time that if you want to actually design Transformer toys you have to work for Takara and live in Japan.

    :( 

    Might actually be a good question to throw out when Hasbro does there 5 question thing every so often.
     
  10. QmTablit

    QmTablit Disguise: Check. Robot...

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    Posts:
    9,428
    Trophy Points:
    176
    Likes:
    +2
    I wouldn't say it's all done in Japan by Takara. Remember, Floro Dery did the designs for the Season 3 characters and toys. And Don Figueroa did the initial Classics Optimus design.

    Concept Design seems to just go to whoever it is assigned to. Or possibly even a number of people, with a number of designs submitted to Hasbro to- for lack of a better term, pick their favorite.

    I'm not going to pretend I know how the game works, but I will say this: if you're seriously looking into doing Concept and Character Design, be ready to be doing A LOT of drawing.
     
  11. wildfly

    wildfly Lasers, 8 O'Clock, Day 1.

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Posts:
    14,024
    News Credits:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    232
    Likes:
    +71
    IIRC, Supreme BB was a Hasbro only effort, as were the 6 inch Titaniums, although the team being those had no previous TF design experience.

    Some might argue both make a good case for ongoing work with Takara.
     
  12. UKBrawn

    UKBrawn No arms just CLAWS!!

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Posts:
    282
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Likes:
    +0
    Werent the Titaniums done by the old galoob team that did the original Micromachines?
    I actually love the 3 inch selection they are very detailed and have a nice feel, and look great.
    The problems started when they had to make stuff Transform.
     
  13. IronicHide

    IronicHide MEME GO HERE

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Posts:
    5,654
    Trophy Points:
    237
    Likes:
    +172
  14. LatinJEM777

    LatinJEM777 TFW's Premier Shredder

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Posts:
    462
    Trophy Points:
    81
    Likes:
    +0
    I've done industrial design work, and there's A LOT more to it than just making a few art sketches on paper. I'm sure Aaron Archer's team consider A LOT, especially working in a corporate environment (which I've had experience in). :thumbs2: 

    First, obviously, there's coming up with the robot and alt mode design.

    Then, there's a cost analysis on the design, based on the price bracket (Deluxe, Voyager,etc.). If it costs too much, then there's either a part reduction, joint changes (ball joints, ratchet joints, swivels, etc.), assembly changes (screws vs. pins), assembly processes (consideration for factory workers). I heard they talk about margins in terms of PENNIES! That's how picky they are about cost vs. price.

    Then there's also toy safety laws (damn lowest common denominator kids getting in the way of toy sweetness!). Toys can look sweet in the prototype stage, but then dumb gov't laws mandate this gets rounder, this missile gets lengthened, this plastic sword gets softer (coughBludgeoncough).

    Then there are the prototypes, unpainted and painted. I'm sure they tweak proportions of panels, details, hinges, ball joints, etc. And I'm sure the team HAS to say, "let's tweak this color, it's not quite right, etc.". And that's a back-and-forth thing between Hasbro and Takara, which mind you Takara is in a WAAAAAAY different time zone than Rhode Island. So both companies meet up in a wierd time schedule.

    EVEN with all of those things met, then you have corporate politics (I've seen it happen at another corporation, and boy, it can get ugly). Product managers bitch because this design cuts a liiiitle too much into their profit margins (making the product manager look bad in front of his boss, even though they have a kickass looking product in their hands), so they push design managers to cost out too much. Or product managers want to rush something out, at the price of quality. It's up to designers to push back, for the sake of quality.

    AND THEN, sometimes you get marketing people that think they are designers. What's dangerous is if they can get into the heads of product managers. Those design decisions can get in the way of a figure being a great figure. Let's put in a GIMMICK! That'll sell millions! Automorph! Mini-cons! Powerlinx ::gags:: Let's cost out that toy more and we'll jam in that gimmick somewhere! I remember there was a podcast Where Vangelus was talking about Takara explaining why Classics 1.0 was so great, the reason being was there was no dumbass gimmick jammed into the toys.

    I'm sure it's up to Archer's team to balance all of these things: design, cost, production, and yes, corporate politics. Add all that up, and you have a fast-paced, high stress (it's good stress:drunk ), but fun environment.

    I haven't worked at Hasbro, but based on my experience, I don't think this is too far from what the Hasbro team's workload really entails.
     
  15. Auto Morph

    Auto Morph Gimmick Bot

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Posts:
    8,449
    Trophy Points:
    176
    Likes:
    +0
  16. Tigertrack

    Tigertrack Back In The Game!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Posts:
    7,054
    Trophy Points:
    176
    Likes:
    +2
    If you can afford it, there's a great design school in California. I forgot the name of it but it's pretty advanced. I wanted to go there a few years ago for concept car designing as that was always my ultimate dream job. But it was just way too expensive and I just don't have the patients for CAD. Might want to look into it. Sorry the names slipped out of my mind but I'm sure you can find it by googling California industrial design schools.
     
  17. LatinJEM777

    LatinJEM777 TFW's Premier Shredder

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2007
    Posts:
    462
    Trophy Points:
    81
    Likes:
    +0
    Art Center. :) 

    I do have to say, if you want to work at Hasbro, I think your best bet is to go to school at Cincinnati DAAP (or DAP?). Cincinnati has a 5 year program, and you are required to co-op every other semester, I think starting your sophomore year. Hasbro loves to hire co-ops from that school. I think Mattel also hires a lot of co-ops as well.

    Just to warn you, you might not get into the Transformers division. You might end up working in the Marvel division (which is still kick-ass), Tonka, Nerf, or even the girl's division. So you HAVE to LOVE Industrial Design in general, especially toy DESIGN (collecting toys isn't enough).

    Design, like any other technical/professional field involves a LOT of hard work, and just taking classes and going through the motions isn't enough. Design isn't just a 9-5, 40 hour work week. Design is a way of life (ugh I hate how presumptuous I sounded there). But if you like a fast paced & demanding environment that tests your technical AND creative skills, by all means go for it! It's one of the coolest and most admired careers out there!:bay  :bay  :bay 

    BTW, I'm going into my last semester in September at CCS in Detroit (another pretty darn good school too).
     

Share This Page