© Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
all rights reserved, 2015

Course Instructors: Maria Yang and David Wallace
Lecture: M W 3:30-5:00 PM, Room 3-370 (first lecture only is in 26-100)
Lab: W 7-10, R 2-5, R 7-10, or F 9-12, in the PDL, room 35-307
Credits: 3-5-1

Overview . Materials . Instructors . Weekend Workshops . Play Testing . Grading . Schedule . Reading

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.

Required Materials

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

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 estabished 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 found in room 3-435.

Weekend Workshops
During several weekends throughout the semester we offer optional workshops to learn additional design tools and techniques. These workshops do not influence grade, but they are great opporunities 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 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 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. Attendance in lab is critical to the course, and three missed or late arrival at labs (more than 15 minutes) without prior arrangement will result in an F grade.

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 4 Wed Toys and Course Overview
Lab Selection and Permissions
Feb 5 Thurs Meet and Greet
9:30 AM-1 PM, PDL 35-307
Feb 6 Fri Meet and Greet
9:30 AM-1 PM, PDL 35-307
Feb 9 Mon Play
Feb 11 Wed Brainstorming and Innovation
Feb 17 Tues Theme Introduction
Brainstorming Assignment
Feb 18 Wed Sketching and Drawing Technique
Bring Drawing Kits
  Lab Team Brainstorm
First Lab Meeting
Feb 20 Fri Boston Children's Museum Visit
Feb 23 Mon Sketching and Rendering
Drawing Assignment
Feb 25 Wed Graphic Design and Visual Information
  Lab Concept Selection and Poster Design
Mar 2 Mon Finalizing Posters
Mar 4 Wed Idea Presentations
During Lecture, 3-370
  Lab Shop Intro and Safety
Mar 9 Mon Sketch Model Techniques
Mar 11 Wed Sketch Model Techniques
  Lab Sketch Model Construction
Mar 15 Sun Analog Circuits
1-4 pm, 3-370
Mar 16 Mon Estimation and Energy / Sketch Models
Mar 18 Wed Estimation and Energy / Sketch Models
  Lab Sketch Model Presentations
During Lab, PDL
Mar 20 Fri Play Test
BCM Fact Sheet (pdf, 3.9MB)
6:30-8 pm, Children's Museum
    Spring Break  
Mar 30 Mon Design Aesthetic
Apr 1 Wed Play Testing
  Lab Concept Selection
Apr 6 Mon Skills Week
Solidworks / Thermoforming
Apr 8 Wed Skills Week
Solidworks / Part Finishing
  Lab Sketch Model 2.0 Construction
Apr 13 Mon Plastics and Manufacturing  
Apr 15 Wed Design Consulting
During Lecture, classrooms
  Lab Prototyping
Apr 19 Fri Play Test
6:30-8 pm, Children's Museum
Apr 22 Wed Portfolios
  Lab Prototyping
Apr 27 Mon Presentations
Apr 29 Wed Presentations
  Lab Prototyping
May 4 Mon Presentation Prep
May 6 Wed Presentation Prep
  Lab Presentation Prep
May 11


Practice Presentations
4:00-10:30 pm, 10-250
May 12 Tues PLAYsentations
7:30-11 pm, 10-250
May 13 Wed Class Wrap Up
Design Notebook Submission

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
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)