2.00b Toy Product Design

Course Info

Lecture: Monday 3:30–5:00 PM and Friday 2:30–4 PM, Room 10-250
Lab: Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, 9AM–12PM, 2PM–5PM, or 7–10PM, in Room 3-004 or Room 5-007
Credits: 3–5–1


Course Overview

Toy Product Design is an introduction to the product design process with a focus on designing for play and entertainment. It is a project-centric class. Students work in small teams of 5–6 members to design and prototype new toys. Students will be introduced to various design topics, including: brainstorming; estimation; sketching; graphic design; drawing and marker rendering; sketch modeling; concept development; design aesthetics; prototyping; and written, visual, and oral communication.

Required Materials

Most materials for the class will be provided. All course information materials will be provided through this website (not Canvas).

Lab Instructors

There will be one lab instructor and one or two mentors for each team. Lab instructors are professors, graduate students, or industry representatives that have an established background in product design. Mentors are undergraduates who have previously taken Toy Product Design or 2.009 and have shown great interest and skill in the subject. Several of the instructors can be found in room 3-452 and 3-458. The course administrator is Chevalley Duhart and she can be reached by email.


Students will have several opportunities throughout the semester to participate in hands-on workshops. Some workshops will be in lieu of lecture, and all students are expected to attend. Other workshops will be optional, to provide additional opportunities to learn design tools and techniques. All are great opportunities for students that are interested in expanding their design abilities. Workshop content is directly applicable to what is happening in lecture and lab each week. Workshops are taught by course staff, lab instructors and guest instructors and include topics such as: Advanced Electronics and Plushie Design and Fabrication.

Play Testing

Feedback is essential to the design process and when designing for children, it is important to play test the ideas. The Children's Museum of Acton has graciously allowed Toy Product Design to play test ideas and prototypes with their visitors. Throughout the semester we have arranged for several visits to this museum to present our work and get children involved in the design process. Every student is expected to attend at least one playtesting session.


2.00b is a participatory class. Not only is lab team-based, there are many activities in lectures where you are also working with your team and will be missed.

Students are expected to attend lecture and to be on time. Many lectures include hands-on learning experiences that cannot be made up by watching a lecture recording. Attendance in lab is also critical to the course, and three missed or late arrivals at labs (more than 15 minutes) without prior arrangement or extenuating circumstances will result in withdrawal or a failing grade.

Attendance at milestones is also expected. Please be sure you can attend all milestones. They are scheduled on the following dates:

In addition, each student is expected to attend at least one playtesting event. Playtesting is scheduled for Sunday, March 12 and Sunday, April 23. Bus transportation is provided. The entire trip is about 4-5 hours, and there is generally a morning trip, a mid-day trip and an afternoon trip.


Individual lab instructors assign the grades for all students in their team. Instructors collaborate to ensure that there is equitable grading between teams. Approximately half of the total grade is based on individual work and half is based on teamwork. Class and lab participation grades are based on both attendance and quality of in-class activity.

Class Participation Individual 15
Lab Participation Individual 15
Brainstorming Assignment Individual 5
Idea Presentation Individual 5
Sketch Models Individual 15
Final Presentation Team 15
Final Prototype Team 20
Design Journal Individual 10

Suggested Reading

Karl Ulrich and Steven Eppinger - Product Design and Development - ( library link )
Scott McCloud - Understanding Comics - ( library link )
Donald Norman - Emotional Design - ( library link )

Further Reading

Michael Michalko - Thinkertoys - ( library link )
Kritina Holden - Universal Principles of Design - ( library link )
Scott McCloud - Making Comics - ( library link )
Donald Norman - The Design of Everyday Things - ( library link )
Nancy Duarte - Slide:ology - ( library link )
Johan Huizinga - Homo Ludens - ( library link )
Mike Ashby - Materials and Design - ( library link )
Brian Sutton-Smith - Toys as Culture - ( library link )