We made our way down to New York last weekend to Toy Fair 2015 to meet with some of our clients, create new connections and see what’s new in the toy industry this year. The trip to Toy Fair is always slightly overwhelming, yet always exciting and inspiring. Many of our current clients were featuring packages, branding and booths we have designed. Although the weather pushed us back a day from getting to New York, we finally made it and were thrilled to see what’s new.
Fuzion has recently partnered with the China based toy company, Auldey, designing identity for numerous brands and helping them create larger than life booth graphics to grab attention down the busy aisles of Toy Fair. We have been working with the brands: Sky Rovers, Wave Racers, Race Tins and a slightly younger line, Super Wings exploring packaging structures to better showcase the product as well as creating logos and packaging line looks to fit within the US market. Remote controlled items were a big trend this year at Toy Fair, and Auldey was one of the best. The Sky Rover Voice Command RC Helicopter was a huge hit and featured on CBS morning news as “A Toy of the Future”. Another new brand that Fuzion helped create was Wave Racers. This unique race car line has a patent pending motion sensor that lets the user control the speed of their car – the faster you wave, the faster your car goes! This inventive toy earned Wave Racers a prestigious spot in USA’s Top 6 Toys at Toy Fair 2015. We would like to think the branding and packaging had a lot to do with it!
It was also exciting to see the Little Kids Inc. booth at Toy Fair as we have been working on various projects with them. One of the key items we have worked on this year was updating the iconic “Fubbles” packaging. We worked closely with Little Kids on creating an updated, more modern look for the logo and packaging to better display the colorful bubble toys and differentiate the brand from other competitors. According to Jim Engle President and owner of Little Kids, their newly introduced Fubbles “Bubble Bot” (that Fuzion also designed packaging for) was a huge hit.
Little Kids also debuted their expanded novelty line at Toy Fair this year. We helped them create a fun and playful line look that is carried across many different products – “Blizzard Blast”, “Zombles”, “Putty Mania”, etc.
Last but not least, we worked with Little Kids on creating a brand look for a new product, Moji-Mi – a line of silly, talking characters. We developed the logo, packaging line look, character illustrations and various PDQ displays. They are set to ship to Target stores this March!
At the Dallas Toy Fair in early October, we were lucky to meet L.Perry, the VP of Marketing at Learning Resources who was looking for some help on their packaging. The 30-year-old company specializes in high-quality educational products and was ready for a packaging refresh. This project was a great challenge for us as Learning Resources has about 8 different sub-brands. Fuzion developed color and icon systems that delineated the sub-brands while nesting them under an overarching brand look. We carried the concepts onto multiple packages to create various planogram arrangements. Currently, we have also been working with them to update their website to match the new packaging look.
Kid Galaxy, a long-time client of Fuzion, was also showcasing a lot of our designs. They have an RC Car line, as well as “Morphibians” RC Amphibious Vehicles. Fuzion helped branding both of these projects along with vehicle deco. Also in the booth was the Electronic Birthday Candle that sings and lights up until you blow it out and the musical “Top Hits Pen” that sings as you write, which Fuzion also created the packaging and deco for.
The senior VP of Playmates, Gina Beebe took us on a tour of the booth to see the enormous world of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle products that we had a part in creating. We were impressed with the dioramas and the wide breath of product offerings. The Fuzion product team partnered with Playmates in developing products for Half Shell Heroes, a line of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for a younger group of children. Fuzion designed a variety of products: Role Play and Bath toys (squirters, vehicles & playsets) all developed around the iconic TMNT crew.
Not only did we love meeting up with clients and seeing some of our work, it was really inspiring to walk around the show seeing this year’s trends in products and branding including logos, packaging and positioning. One booth we were impressed by was Hape Toys. Not only are their products beautiful and high-end (found mostly in specialty shops) they do a great job at carrying their brand onto all aspects of their company. The booth was spacious and not over crowded with product, translating a quality feel to their brand. The booth was full with lots of white space and bold splashes of red graphics. Hape Toys was also showcasing a recently inquired “Kruse by Kathe Kruse” an organic softgoods line, which had high-end set up boxes with beautiful simplistic graphics for their packaging, something not seen often in the toy industry.
We were also intrigued by the brand and packaging of LightUp!, a California based company that has created a product to help kids learn about and have fun with circuits using magnetic snapping blocks and an app on a smartphone or tablet. They took a very “Apple”-ish approach to their packaging, using a teal color box with a simple white logo.
We also had fun playing with Wiggles 3D, ‘Bellz!’. The game consists of a magnet wand and 40 custom bells in 4 colors and 3 different sizes. The goal is to use the magnet wand to pick up bells of only one color, which is a simple concept, but surprisingly difficult… and addicting! This game is not only fun for kids but would be great for a family game night or even a group of adults. We were impressed by Wiggles 3D’s safe use of magnets, embedding them into the product to reduce the risk of choking on the magnets, which has been a problem in the toy industry recently. Not only did we think ‘Bellz!’ was innovative as a product, we thought the packaging approach was quite smart as well. The pouch not only holds all the pieces but also unzips to become the area for play.
And of course, we were excited about the larger name companies reveal of some of the newest toys: for examples, Mattel’s interactive ‘Hello Barbie’ – using “Siri”-like technology will be received in the market as well as Mattel’s team up with Google creating the new high-tech ‘View-Master’. As always there is also an enormous amount of licensed toys that are so fun to see – Jurassic Park, Disney’s Frozen, Star Wars, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
All in all, our trip to New York was interesting and inspiring. We got to see many of our projects showcased as well see what’s popular and trendy this year. We were able to make many new connections and are excited to see what this year will bring!