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Mattel's 3-Year Quest To Make A Better Toy Gun

Mattel s 3 Year Quest To Make A Better Toy Gun Co Design business design


With a new line of wicked toy guns, Mattel is brandishing arms to protect good old-fashioned toys in the age of apps.

Derman wanted to pursue ideas of his own.

And Mattel had finally given him a skeleton crew to devise a completely open-ended toy line of his own. His only real constraints: It had to be a hit outdoor toy for boys. The possibilities were wide open, so long as it was S.W.N.S.B.--”something we’ve never seen before”--an acronym designers were fond of using to describe the lofty, ill-defined requests of Mattel’s VPs.

Maybe S.W.N.S.B. was possible. But first, Derman had to get this stupid substance to stick.

“I took this whole ball of crap and just threw it,” Derman says.

Eureka. It stuck.

And not just a little bit! When Derman tried to remove the ball from a poster he’d struck on the wall, he realized it had splatted to the paper with all of the stretchy tack of a cartoon come to life. Because a moment later, the ball snapped back into his hand and regained its shape, perfectly.

At long last, Derman had his dream material for any number of outdoor games he could imagine. But more importantly, he had the ammo to build the one product he really wanted to make, the one product that had been in the back of his mind since he dissected his own Nerf blasters as a child: The ultimate toy gun.

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Something We've Never Seen Before is a great concept. 

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