Creativity and inspiration can come from anywhere. Including–as covered in my colleague Kay’s recent blog post–cool toys.
As Kay described in her post, we recently visited the Chicago designer toy store Rotofugi, a wonderful place for anyone who possesses either an inner kid, inner artist, or inner geek (I am pretty sure I have all three, meaning I could have spent all day there). But there was one reason in specific I decided I needed to visit the store, which involved the little blue guys pictured below. Yes, my adult self trekked multiple train stops away to buy mini plastic monsters, and I have no shame admitting so for two reasons: one, they’re really, really awesome, and two, they are the result of a great project that demonstrates the power of creativity, which makes them even more awesome.
These figures, dubbed O.M.F.G (which stands for “Outlandish Mini Figure Guys”), aren’t any ordinary toys. Last year, they were completely conceived, sculpted and produced by a number of independent artists and toy lovers who just thought it’d be cool to develop a line that paid homage to similar toys from decades past. Artists who participated in a forum over at the site for independent toy creators October Toys submitted designs for original characters, and after a vote, five made the cut and were sculpted into figures. Then, the group started a campaign on Kickstarter.com, a website that allows people to raise money for various projects, to gather funding to have the toys produced and packaged to be sold to anyone in need of a little plastic monster fix. People interested in the project could pledge at various levels (which included incentives of receiving sets of the figures once produced in addition to other items), and it would only go forward if a particular goal was met. The response was immediately strong and the goal of $11,000 was not just met, but actually surpassed, well before the deadline. As part of the project a number of exclusive colors of the figures were produced for toy-centric independent stores and websites such as Rotofugi, many of which have already sold out. Ideas for a second series are already underway.
In the case of this story, a toy isn’t simply a toy. It’s a symbol of the power of creativity. A small group of artists had a lot of great ideas, cool designs and high hopes, and with some effort and enthusiasm were able to bring their creativity to life in a way that allows anyone at all to own their creations as an actual toy line. It’s a great example of what’s possible–whether it’s creating crazy plastic monsters or changing the world–when you’re inspired to make something happen.