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Companies like Lego and Mattel have divisions that seek out design concepts directly from collectors and other highly dedicated fan bases.

Near the end of 2022, Lucas Bolt, an environmental artist and Lego enthusiast in Amsterdam, was working on a design for a Lego set the company had crowdsourced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons, the tabletop role-playing game.

“I spent two very intense weeks working on it, every night, every weekend, all the time that I had,” he said.

Mr. Bolt was hoping to create the design for Lego Ideas, a program the toymaker started in 2008 to solicit ideas online directly from fans. Typically, designers post their concept on the platform, and if a design gets 10,000 votes, the company considers it for production. This case was different, though: It was the first time the company had given fans a concept to work with.

Mr. Bolt had been designing

Keep reading this article on The New York Times Small Business.

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