Step into a world of imagination with pinner Dominic Yard, as he tells us about creating innovative and exciting new toys for kids. Read on to find out how Dominic uses Pinterest and why he says, “It gives other people a great overview of your personality and style and is also a great way to promote your own work!”
Hi Dominic! Share with us a little about yourself and what you do?
I’m a toy inventor & designer based in East London. I have been inventing toys & gifts for the last 5 years and while working for Fuse London, I have designed items which have been licensed to brands such as Polly Pocket, Hot Wheels & Tech Deck. In 2012, I managed a team of designers at a London based giftware company creatively directing products such as a Unicorn sprinkle shaker, a bird house disco radio & a bottle opening cap launcher! I have recently set up my own toy inventing company called Yard.
Outside of design, I spend my time mountain biking, surfing, snowboarding and adventuring to different places around the world to take part in these various pursuits!
When did you first know you wanted to work with toys?
I actually started out designing toys by chance. I had graduated with a product design degree from Sheffield Hallam University in 2005 and then spent 18 months in Queenstown, New Zealand, snowboarding and working as a graphic designer before moving to London. I was applying for lots of different product design jobs and the one I landed was as a toy designer working on the Polly Pocket Brand.
Strangely, I hadn’t really considered toys before this but I had always had a playful design style. As soon as I started, it made total sense that toys were the best thing I could be making! You get to think as weird and wonderful as possible, act like kid, make lots of cool little prototype models and basically play with toys all day! Much more fun than standard consumer goods!
You have designed incredible toys for Polly Pocket, Hot Wheels & Tech Deck. Tell us about one of your favorites.
I think my favourite is from working at Fuse London. I coinvented Custom Motors with Emily Ward for Hot Wheels. The interchangeable, modular system features easy, snap-on parts allowing kids to build and race their very own customized Hot Wheels cars. It is really fun to play with and the Hot Wheels team made this amazing interactive YouTube game to promote the line.
As a toy designer, how has pinning been useful to you?
Pinning has been a fantastic way to store, organise and curate all the inspiring things I find online. These would have previously been dragged to a cluttered file on my desktop and I would usually forget about or never be able to find the pictures I was looking for again.
Besides design work, I use it to find and pin lots of cool things to do with my hobbies from bikes to cool video edits. It gives other people a great overview of your personality and style and is also a great way to promote your own work!
What was your favorite toy(s) growing up as a kid?
That has to be Lego, for sure! I had drawers and drawers of the stuff and my mum even took me to Legoland in Denmark. That was pretty mind blowing for a 7-year-old!
You have other fun, fast & adventurous toys. Tell us more about mountain biking and why you love the outdoors.
I love to be active and outdoors. Action sports have always appealed to me and have always been a massive source of inspiration, which goes back into my design work. I grew up racing mountain bikes and although now I only do the odd race here and there I still ride all the time. I also surf, snowboard and travel all over the world to ride in different places.
In February of this year, I spent two weeks surfing in Sri Lanka and have just gotten home from racing the Megavalanche in the French Alps. This is a mass start downhill mountain bike race with 350 riders stating on the glacial snow of Pic Blanc (3330m) in Alp D’huez and race down a 30km course to the valley floor 2000m below! This was my run last year.