We went to Toy expo in Shanghai today. Before we go, I thought it would be somewhere that I’ve been to when I was in Tokyo this summer. The toy expo that I went this summer in Tokyo is more like designer to buyer. The stands were all presented by the designers themselves. However, this one we went together in SH is more commercial. As I talked with the stand owner, I realized that they were not the designers but the sellers. Anyway, until today I realized there’re so many things going on within the process of a ‘simple’ toy production. First of all, designers are needed for sure. But this is not even close to the ending point. After designers have draw the “things”,designers then own the copyright of the“toy” image. Then often time, the designers would sell the production copyright to an agency. Here, the agency would have the right to put the design into production. For example, I never know that,“Care Bear” don’t actually produce care bear! What a betrayal! I’ve just started collecting my Japanese version care bear. To be honest, originally, I thought that once you were a Japanese care bear, always a Japanese. However, there’s a care bear stand in this toy expo, and I was so excited to enter the place. Almost immediately I realized these care bear don’t look as good as my care bear at home at all! Then I talked to the representatives there, and here’s the shocking news they told me: there would be Chinese Care Bear in 2018! And the whole vending machine which is just full of Chinese Care Bear Prototypes but would be updated before they really debut in China. They also told me the fact that except from the Care Bear designers in Japan, the designers also need some agency to help them with their expansion in China, and that’s what they do. They also help design the “Chinese Care Bear.” (which is slightly different from Japanese ones) It was only until this moment I realized how careful you need to design even one toy with details slightly different from each other, aiming at different customers. Although I just love Japanese version, I could tell from the Chinese Care bear’s prototype which is more “round” and the facial is flatter. This is just something fun to know. Apart from this, this is also the first time I know that there are whole bunches of companies out there doing one thing: buy and sell toy ideas or design and sell toy ideas. This is like one of dream job I could imagine for now. Personally speaking, I would have no idea about how to produce a real toy but I really enjoy making up stories and creates characters. Maybe in the future I would go and sell my ideas to others and ask them to produce all my dream stuff, and I could also make money from. What a joy!
Thanks to Marcela for taking us for this expo, I learned a lot and took a lot (a whole bag of advertising paper). Hope I could be a toy designer one day in the near future. Followings are just some interesting photos to look at. And I feel sad about the fact that almost none of them are for sell.