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Welcome to

TOY DESIGN

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GAME OF LIFE

DESPICABLE ME

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Play The Game of Life with Despicable Me minions! Just choose your Minion, choose a job, and let the adventure begin. You’ll sing at Gru’s wedding, steal the Moon, and other wacky escapades; but watch out for the evil Minions as you try to bag 5 bunches of bananas! The mini-spinner might send you in an unexpected direction, but you can always get sneaky and slide through a tube to a new space. Will you beat the others to it… or will they steal your loot? You’ll find out when you play the Despicable Me version of The Game of Life!

What is it?

THE STORY OF HOW IT CAME ABOUT...
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So, I came up with the idea of spinning for direction. Luckily my years of practice as a 5-year-old with a hand turned wooden spinning top from Amberley Industrial Museum came in handy! I created several games that required skill and chance elements to navigate and crack codes.

As a toy designer we get the chance to invent new concepts using our design thinking skills and this started out as just that. I had thought, what if a dice or a spinner weren't the only ways to navigate a game board, there must be something more.

As a kid I was often frustrated by chance; I was a competitive kid and to me if I couldn't improve at it, I didn't want to know (luckily, I learnt over time that chance can be fun too).

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Here are some of the variations I engineered to work ergonomically as well as stylised for the theme of the game.

As a designer at Hasbro I was trained in using the 3D printer and model clean-up equipment.

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Having already worked on Game of Life Junior, I was asked to work on a Despicable Me Game of Life. The original brief was age 8+. 

I came up with several mechanisms for how a Minion would move and reflect its life in the Game of Life. I decided it needed to be different, somewhat chaotic or hard to control, to reflect their crazy nature and add humour to the game.

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DEVELOPMENT...

It was at this stage that I decided that Minions never go the way they're told, they never go in straight lines following tracks. So spinning Minions it was. The Game of Life takes a new turn!

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Designing the bunch of bananas that worked well visually, and creating the CAD models that would allow them to be injection moulded in a 2-part mould, which was more complicated than it looks!

THE FINAL DESIGN...
Elise Hounslow Toy Designer, Board Games Designer

Working with large license companies such as Universal is always challenging; I'm confident at pitching constructively, negotiating and compromising as a designer. Designing games allowed me to understand the complexities and perfection required by licenses, product testing, and manufacturing design cost-reduction techniques. 

Having already worked on GoL Junior, and play testing the original Game of life, this led me to learn that the original was dated and didn’t follow through with today’s values. It needed that extra edge of experiential role-play and imagination; this turned out to be the perfect partner license, as Minions are very adventurous and high energy.

I pulled on all the main iconic moments from the first two films and incorporated them into the graphics and the card content. The kids get to act out certain scenes from the movie and take actions against their competitor Minions.

 

I also added themed game-play based on the Minions crazy nature and personality. There are travel tubes by which they can travel to new parts of the board and mini spinners that change their direction as Minions are always running off in any direction with their scatty personalities. This project was great fun and I still love Minions!

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ELLIE & SHOWMAN

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My First WOW age 10m+

'Ellie And Showman features super speedy hidden wheels and a removable Play Friend figure. Her Showmans happy thumbs up ensures that he is super-safe for young children to chew, hug, play with and nibble on with the reassurance that none of our Play Friends can ever pose a choking hazard to a child from 10 months old.' - WOW Toys

SCHOOL BUS BEN

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My First WOW age 10m+

'Ben features extra grip rubber wheels and a removable bus driver Play Friend. His driver's happy thumbs up ensures that he is super-safe for young children to chew, hug, play with and nibble on with the reassurance that they will never pose a choking hazard to a child from 10 months old.' - WOW Toys

WOW TOYS - RNLI BABY RANGE

RNLI Baby Rustle Toy

WOW Toys has partnered with the RNLI on making several hard-lines but never ventured into the baby market. Following on from a collaboration with Kite Baby, making baby-grows and clothing for RNLI, we were approached to see if we could make a baby toy range to compliment this. And above shows 4 of the toys out this summer 2020 which I designed.

About the range

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MONOPOLY VENTURE CONCEPT

Elise Hounslow Toy Designer, Board Games Designer
Elise Toy Designer

Monopoly Venture allows for outdoor family bonding snapping-up moments to cherish and holding on to those memories, storing them in a night-light-picture-dome.

 

The child and parent/relative/friend that they wish to connect with better, both go off out for the day and snap away blind as to the images they actually took. When they return home, they both place their boot-cam on to their own connected dock which uploads their images, displaying them on the dome. They can then swipe up for the ones they wish to keep and down for the ones they don’t. The images are then displayed on the dome with a dim light feature as a comforting night light of memories. Keeping families connected!

What is it?

THE FUTURE OF THE MONOPOLY BRAND
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I looked into the family bonding element of Monopoly and felt this would be key to the development of children in 2025, as cities become more compact, likewise of accommodation. This way of life is believed to hinder the adventurous nature of children and bonding in families, especially split-families and hybrid-families, so my design seeks to combat this and bring back that special connection and routine into their lives.

This Project was from 2015, re-positioning Monopoly 10 years into the future, but I like to reflect on it now as we are so close to the reality of this becoming technologically feasible today and think it shows my future thinking skills. Creating a repositioned brand bible, we developed our own individual products.

Elise Hounslow Toy Designer, Board Games Designer, toy design concept
BRIEF...
Elise Hounslow Toy Designer, Board Games Designer, toy design concept
THE CONCEPT...

Step 1: Take your pocket size camera out-and-about with you on your day

Step 2: Plug it in to your bike to charge it

Step 3: Put in in the dock when you get home and pictures will display from your day allowing you to connect and reflect on your day. It also synchronises with a family members dock too!

Elise Hounslow Toy Designer, Board Games Designer, toy design concept
DEVELOPMENT...

I then looked into modernising the existing boot shape and engineering it to fit the electronics and make it ergonomic for both toddler and parent to use.

Elise Hounslow Toy Designer, Board Games Designer, toy design concept

I then worked on the UI of the camera, I kept it really simple with just 2 buttons for a toddler to be able to navigate, and I also added a sound when the buttons are pressed to help the child understand the picture was taken.

The arrows are inspired by the Monopoly navigation arrow and helps the child to know whether it's a selfie (arrow facing them) or ahead mode (arrow pointing in front).

THE FINAL DESIGN...
Elise Hounslow Toy Designer, Board Games Designer, toy design concept