This weeks Designer Spotlight focues on Wayne Losey, who is striving to get us to play again, by making modular, interactive toys.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? Where are you located?
I make playthings! My background is in toy and character design, visual storytelling, and play systems. I’ve worked on action figures for 20 years. I’m based in Providence, Rhode Island and am a member of the vibrant local maker, startup and entrepreneur communities. Providence is a great place to bring unconventional ideas to life.
What’s the story behind your designs? What inspires you?
I like to create tools and toys that help people express their own ideas and creative spirit. The goal is to create things that people connect with in a very personal, hands-on way. ModiBot as a product is really what you make of it, I’m not trying to be the next big, prescriptive, entertainment property, I’m helping people to tell their own story. Mo is something noteworthy that people have sitting around on their desks. Other people take notice, pick it up and have a hard time putting it down. Its way for people to talk about what they love.
I’m inspired by tools, disruptive ideas and whats happening on the fringes of culture. As a professional, I had lost that hands-on relationship to my work. My work reflects a reconnecting with the work and an exploration of what is possible in desktop manufacturing.
What brought you to 3D printing with Shapeways?
After a long time in the mass market toy industry, I’ve watched a lot of great toy lines fail because there’s no movie or tv show supporting them. The retail system works well for BIG, but fails on personalized and niche products. With Shapeways, I can focus on creating things people want instead of talking them into wanting what I have. Committing to inventory can crush an idea before it can get traction. The ‘proto-product’ approach is about agility.
How did you learn how to design in 3D?
LOL. That is a work-in-progress. I’ve been teaching myself for about 18 months and since I’m a creative director at my own design firm, my eye is better than my ‘hand’ in this area. What I love about 3D is that I can iterate and try ideas quickly and either expand upon them or move on.
How do you promote your work?
I promote it across most social media, especially the visual mediums, Flickr and Pinterest. The most important idea is to start building a way for people to get interested in ModiBot. Its a play system, so that concept tends to be the greatest challenge to communicate.
Who are your favorite designers or artists?
I tend to favor designs over designers, only because I tend to absorb a lot of media for my ‘day job’ from video games, to childrens books, to concept design. So, I’m a fan of a lot, but don’t always retain the ‘who’. It probably shows in my work, but Lego is huge influence. As far as the Shapeways community Fakebusker83, Wulongti and Vidalcris are doing some really fun and amazing work. I trade pointers with a few of the toy guys. It pays to compare notes.
If you weren’t limited by current technologies, what would you want to make using 3D printing?
I’d design printable micro motors to add mechanical motion to my designs.
Get your own modibot in Wayne’s Shapeways Shop, or follow their adventures on Tumblr. And if you’d like to be featured in the next Designer Spotlight, email firstname.lastname@example.org
I agree that “The retail system works well for BIG, but fails on personalized and niche products”…That’s why 3d printing toys is such a wonderful refreshing trend, customized toys can somehow “fight back” the traditional retails system.
Excellent interview and from my interactions with Wayne, he’s a really great guy to know; a true font of knowledge when it comes to the toy industry.
Thank you so much for the nod, you’re certainly one of my toy heroes. I hope that one day my stuff will be half as popular as Mo 🙂