2.00b Toy Product Design


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Lecture: M W 3:30–5:00 PM, Room 3-370 (first lecture only is in 10-250)
Lab: W 7–10, R 9–noon, R 7–10, or F 9–noon, in the PDL, room 3-004
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

Design Notebook - unruled and robust like the Moleskine Plain Large Notebook

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: Basics of Electronics, Casting and Mold Making, Illustrator, 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 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 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
Sketch Models Individual 5
Mockups Team 10
Final Presentation Team 15
Final Prototype Team 20
Design Journal Individual 10

Course Schedule

Date   Class/Lab Theme Additional Info
week 1
Feb 6 Wed Toys and Course Overview
Feb 7 Thurs Meet and Greet 9:30 AM–12:30 PM
PDL 3-004
Feb 8 Fri Meet and Greet 9:30 AM–12:30 PM
PDL 3-004
week 2
Feb 11 Mon Play!
Feb 13 Wed Innovation and Introduction to Pull Toys
Lab Pull Toys
week 3
Feb 18 Mon Presidents Day No Class
Feb 19 Tues Theme and Brainstorming (Note: Monday Schedule)
Feb 20 Wed Sketching 1: Drawing Technique
  Lab Team Brainstorming
Feb 22 Fri Boston's Children Museum Visit 2.00b will cover your Admissions Fee
week 4
Feb 25 Mon Sketching 2: Rendering, Tone, and Graphics
Feb 27 Wed Graphic Design and Visual Information
  Lab Concept Selection and Poster Design
week 5
Mar 3 Sun Plush Tutorial I: Using Illustrator Optional tutorial on using illustrator.
Evening PDL Extra Hours: Working on Posters 3:00pm to 7:00pm
Mar 4 Mon Playtesting and Sketch Models
Evening PDL Extra Hours: Working on Posters 5:00pm to 9:00pm
Mar 6 Wed Idea Presentations During Lecture, 3-370
Lab Sketch Models
Mar 9 Sat Plush Tutorial II: Sewing and Stuffing Sew your own plush!
Come even if you didn't come to Part I
12:00pm to 2:00pm in PDL

week 6
Mar 10 Sun Electronics I: Intro to Digital Electronics 2:00pm to 4:00pm in 3-370
Mar 11 Mon Sketch Model Techniques - Split Class A: Blue Foam
B: Foam Core
Mar 12 Tues PDL Extra Hours:
Plushie Sewing
1:00pm to 3:00pm
7:00pm to 10:00pm
Mar 13 Wed Sketch Model Techniques - Split Class A: Foam Core
B: Blue Foam
Lab Sketch Models
Mar 15 Fri PDL Extra Hours:
Sketch Models
week 7
Mar 17 Sun Sketch Model Playtesting! 10:45am-1pm, Boston Children's Museum
Mar 18 Mon Split Class! A: Estimation and Energy
B: Work Time
Evening PDL Shop Hours:
Sketch Models
5pm to 9pm
Mar 19 Tues PDL Shop Hours:
Sketch Models
noon to 5pm
Mar 20 Wed Split Class! A: Work Time
B: Estimation and Energy
  Lab Sketch Model Presentations During Lab, PDL.
Spring Break!
week 8
Apr 1 Mon Skills Week - split class A: Solidworks
B: Thermoforming and Part Finishing
Apr 3 Wed Skills Week - split class A: Thermoforming and Part Finishing
B: Solidworks
  Lab Concept Selection and Mockups
week 9
Apr 7 Sunday Electronics II 11:00am to 1:00pm in Cypress Engineering Design Studio (EDS) in 38-501
Soldering, Wireless communication, and more!
Apr 8 Mon Product Form
Apr 10 Wed Plastics and Manufacturing
  Lab Mockups
week 10
Apr 15 Mon Patriots Weekend - No Class
Apr 17 Wed Mockup Reviews During lecture
  Lab Designing Final Prototypes
week 11
Apr 21 Sun Mockup Playtesting! 2:15pm-4:30pm, Boston Children's Museum
Apr 22 Mon Plastics - split class A: Casting
B: Work Time
Apr 24 Wed Plastics - split class A: Work Time
B: Casting
  Lab Final Prototypes
week 12
Apr 29 Mon Presentations - split class A: Presentation Design
B: Work Time
May 1 Wed Presentations - split class A: Work Time
B: Presentation Design
  Lab Final Prototypes
week 13
May 5 Sun Vinyl Cutting and T-Shirt Screenprinting Optional workshop. Bring blank tshirts and print your own team shirts!
PDL Shop Hours All day long!
May 6 Mon Presentation Prep -
split class
A: Presentation Feedback
B: Work Time
May 8 Wed Presentation Prep -
split class
A: Work Time
B: Presentation Feedback
  Lab Presentation Prep
week 14
May 12 Sun PDL Shop Hours All day long!
May 13 Mon PDL Shop Hours 9-5pm
May 14 Tues PLAYsentations 7:30–11 pm, 10-250
May 15 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)