Genius of Play Ambassador Spotlight: Meg Anger, Meg Anger Design / Infinite Hugs, LLC
August 10, 2021 | Meg Anger is a freelance illustrator and designer with more than a decade of experience working in the toy industry. Today, she offers her creative services to clients as the founder of Meg Anger Design/Infinite Hugs, LLC. Toy News Tuesday editors spoke with Anger about her role as a Play Ambassador for The Toy Association’s Genius of Play initiative and how she’s constantly infusing creative play into and outside of her work.
TNT: How did you get your start in the toy industry and what you are doing now?
MA: I got my start in the toy industry working as a designer for Faber-Castell USA / Creativity for Kids, where I did product and packaging design. I learned a lot about quality, toy safety testing, and keeping creativity top of mind for children and parents. After almost 10 years there, I decided to leave to become a freelance illustrator and designer. Now, I help clients in the toy industry and other categories with their creative needs.
I also have a small business, Infinite Hugs, in which I illustrate portraits, sell happy stickers, memory books, and more. And lastly, I have an on-going family project creating apps for kids. My husband is a developer and my kids are loaded with ideas to try, so we like to play around with that.
TNT: Why was it important to you to become a Genius of Play Ambassador and what does play mean to you?
MA: It was important because the mission of The Genius of Play resonates with me; Play is part of my work life and my home life. I am a mother of two young daughters, and this past year especially taught me a lot about the power of play. The pandemic was challenging but awarded me time with my kids.
Like all families during the pandemic, we couldn’t see our family or friends and emotions were high. Staying creative, playing and keeping busy truly got us through, and I want to share that with others inside and out of the industry. To me, play is about being active, being creative, and really just doing anything that puts a smile on your face.
TNT: Play benefits our emotional and physical wellbeing at any age, so what steps have you taken to make play a part of your daily routine both in and outside of work?
MA: At home, it’s the little moments. It’s the getting down on the floor with the kids and being at their level to really engage with them. It’s the random games we play to try to get tasks and chores done. It’s making time for art, both for myself and with the kids. And it’s realizing that play might just be the answer when I am losing patience. A funny voice, a crazy dance, and sometimes just full-on laughter can change everyone’s mood pretty quickly.
For work, I find the best ideas come from play. Getting up and away from my computer helps me immensely. I am the type of person that could sit there for hours to try to grind out a project but often that leads to roadblocks for creativity. Because much of my work is kid-focused, spending time with my own kids and their friends gives me insights on how they interact, create, and what they truly enjoy.
TNT: What is your favorite toy and/or play memory?
MA: My absolute favorite toy was a bubble gum-scented Jelly Belly doll. She went everywhere with me and was a definite source of comfort. She was so loved that my mom had to sew her a new outfit/body just to keep her intact a bit longer.
TNT: How do you think we as a society can better incorporate play into our lives?
MA: Simply stated: Make time for play. I know this is not easy or even sometimes deemed acceptable, but it is a must. Play needs to be seen as a priority. I understand that schools and businesses are result-focused and deadline-driven but sadly we are missing out on the benefits of play. I watched my kindergartner learn remotely for part of the year and could see her desire and need for hands-on activities and social interaction. The pandemic created challenges for playful learning. Once she returned to the classroom, the majority of the toys had to be removed for Covid-safety concerns. I was more than on board with all the safety precautions, but this was a tiny glimpse into a world with less play and it was heart-breaking especially for that age. Play helps us to problem-solve and communicate with others. Making time for play allows for skills to be developed and makes it not just about getting results. It is what “secretly” make us become successful adults.
Meg Anger is a freelance illustrator and designer. To learn more about Anger's work, you can find her at www.meg-anger.com and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
This interview is part of an ongoing series that spotlights the members of The Genius of Play Ambassadors program, who serve as play thought leaders within their own professional networks as well as key supporters and spokespersons for ongoing Genius of Play initiatives.