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Tips from 5 mega-successful designers you’ve never heard of

Robot Turtles design sketchSometimes we tend to look too much inwards, toward what we know and what we love. Which is fine, but it makes us miss the golden nuggets of wisdom that come from people in related fields.

So, without further ado, here are five wild success stories and hands on tips from five toy designers who went from zero to hero in no time flat. Some nuggets:

Find the hook. I couldn’t convince myself that Robot Turtles was a good idea until I came up with the phrase “A board game that teaches programming to preschoolers.” That generated interest. It was something new. If I said, “I made an educational board game,” nobody would have cared.

– Dan Shapiro

Always show what we call “wild card” concepts — things that are out of left field, not quite what you think your audience wants to see, because you just never know. I would never have thought that Educational Insights would love our concept and make a vehicle line. And I would have been wrong. But we did, they did, and kids love them.

– Bruce Lund


Always validate your toy idea. Build the smallest, quickest thing you can, and test it with real users: Put it live, point some Facebook ads at it, and get a hundred people you don’t know to give you their opinion. Ideally, do this five times with five slightly (or very) different things.

– Alice Taylor

Link: How to Get Your Toy Made @

Dreams of Futures Past Book Cover

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