President’s Letter – March 20, 2012: A New Launch

Creativity and innovation are the primary drivers of toy sales.  To help keep their businesses growing, toy companies rely on the imaginations and talent of their designers to maintain a full pipeline of new products.   

To keep these creative juices flowing, toy designers must constantly search for new sources of inspiration and ideas.  So, with help from the toy design departments at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and Otis College of Art and Design, TIA has teamed up with The Strong’s National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY to introduce ToyDesignCon 2012, a new conference programmed specifically for toy designers employed by our member companies. 

FIT, Otis and other toy design programs across the country provide our industry with a steady stream of talented designers educated in the particular complexities of toy design (age-grading, safety standards, materials selection, etc.).  TIA is proud to support these programs and I’m always glad to meet FIT and Otis grads in the design shops when I visit TIA member companies.  We also know that it’s important to continue our support of designers even after they graduate.  And that’s why we decided to launch this new conference.

The Strong® is a highly interactive, collections-based educational institution devoted to the study and exploration of play. It carries out this mission through five “Play Partners”:   The National Museum of Play, the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, and the American Journal of Play.  Independent and not-for-profit, The Strong houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play, enabling a multifaceted array of research, exhibition, and interpretive opportunities that serve a diverse audience from around the globe.   The museum, the library and archives, The Strong’s vast collections and its exceptional team of curators will all play integral roles in this conference.  Additional program content will be rolling out over the coming weeks.

The conference will begin with a reception Sunday evening, June 24th and conclude at noon on Tuesday, June 26th. There is a low registration fee of $195 which applies both for in-house design teams and for the designers/inventors sponsored by TIA member companies.  The participation of creative team managers and other toy execs is welcome too. 

We encourage all TIA member companies to take this opportunity to introduce their designers to new sources of inspiration and help refresh their creativity at this inaugural conference.  Please save the dates and join us in Rochester!

Warm regards to all,
Carter Keithley