copyright Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
all rights reserved, 2012

Toy Product Design 2.00b

Instructors: Lindy Liggett, Geoff Tsai, and David Wallace
Lecture: M W 3:30-5:00 PM, Room 3-370
Lab: W 7-10, R 9-12, R 7-10, or F 9-12, Room 35-307
Credits: 3-5-1

Overview . Readings/Materials . Instructors . Weekend Workshops . Play Testing . Grading . Schedule

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 6-7 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.


USB Flash Drive - 2 GB or higher
Design Notebook - unruled and robust like the Moleskine Plain Large Notebook
Drawing Kit - to be discussed in lecture

Suggested Readings

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

There will be one lab instructor and one mentor assigned to each team. Lab instructors are professors, graduate students, or industry representatives that have a strong background in product design. Mentors are undergraduates who have previously taken Toy Product Design and have shown great interest and skill in the subject. Some instructors can be found in room 3-452 and 3-458. The course administrator is Chevalley Duhart and she can be found in room 3-435.

Weekend Workshops
Many weekends throughout the semester we offer optional workshops to learn additional design tools and techniques. These workshops do not influence grade, but we strongly suggest them to students that are interested in expanding their design abilities. The workshop content is directly applicable to what is happening in lecture and lab each week. Workshops are taught by course and lab instructors and include topics such as: Advanced Sketching, Basics of Electronics, Casting and Mold Making, Photoshop, Illustrator, Keynote, Advanced Solid Modeling and Silk Screening.

Play Testing
Feedback is essential to the design process and when designing for children, it is important to play test the ideas. The Boston Children's Museum and the MIT Museum have graciously allowed Toy Product Design to play test ideas and prototypes with their visitors. Throughout the semester we have arranged for several visits to these museums to present our work and get children involved in the design process. These dates are listed in the syllabus.

Individual lab instructors assign the grades for all students in their section. Instructors collaborate to ensure that there is equitable grading between lab sections. Approximately half of the total grade is based on individual work and the other 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
Individual Sketch Model Individual 5
Team Sketch Models Team 10
Final Presentation Team 15
Final Prototype Team 20
Design Journal Individual 10

Course Schedule

Date   Class/Lab Theme
Additional Info
Feb 6 Wed Toys and Course Overview
Lab Selection and Permissions
Feb 7 Thurs Meet and Greet
9-Noon, PDL 35-307
Feb 8 Fri Meet and Greet
9-Noon, PDL 35-307
Feb 10 Sun "Objectified"
4-6 pm, 3-370
Feb 11 Mon Play
Feb 13 Wed Brainstorming and Innovation
Feb 19 Tues Theme Introduction
Brainstorming Assignment
Feb 20 Wed Sketching and Drawing Technique
Bring Drawing Kits
  Lab Team Brainstorm
First Official Labs
Feb 22 Fri Boston Children's Museum Visit
Feb 25 Mon Sketching and Rendering
Drawing Assignment
Feb 27 Wed Graphic Design and Visual Information
  Lab Concept Selection and Poster Design
Mar 4 Mon Finalizing Posters
Mar 6 Wed Idea Presentations
During Lecture, 3-370
  Lab Shop Intro and Safety
Mar 8 Fri Play Test
6:30-8 pm, Children's Museum
Mar 11 Mon Sketch Model Techniques
Mar 12 Tues Hasbro Design and Engineering Visit
Mar 13 Wed Sketch Model Techniques
  Lab Sketch Model Construction
Mar 17 Sun Analog Circuits
1-4 pm, 3-370
Mar 18 Mon Estimation and Energy / Sketch Models
Mar 20 Wed Estimation and Energy / Sketch Models
  Lab Sketch Model Presentations
During Labs, PDL
Mar 22 Fri Play Test
6:30-8 pm, Children's Museum
    Spring Break  
Apr 1 Mon Design Aesthetic
Apr 3 Wed Play Testing
  Lab Concept Selection
Apr 8 Mon Skills Week
Solidworks / Thermoforming
Apr 10 Wed Skills Week
Solidworks / Part Finishing
  Lab Sketch Model 2.0 Construction
Apr 17 Wed Design Consulting
During Lecture, classrooms
  Lab Prototyping
Apr 19 Fri Play Test
6:30-8 pm, Children's Museum
Apr 22 Mon Plastics and Manufacturing
Apr 24 Wed Portfolios
  Lab Prototyping
Apr 29 Mon Presentations
May 1 Wed Presentations
  Lab Prototyping
May 6 Mon Presentation Prep
May 8 Wed Presentation Prep
  Lab Presentation Prep
May 13


Practice Presentations
4:00-10:30 pm, 10-250
May 14 Tues PLAYsentations
7:30-11 pm, 10-250
May 15 Wed Class Wrap Up
Design Notebook Submission