Here’s a great example of an entrepreneurial designer who is capitalizing on the latest advances in digital printing on cardboard to create and sell a new line of fun, customizable products.
Just in time for Christmas, a designer-led start-up company called Famous OTO has launched the first in a series of supersized, cardboard toy trucks modeled after the increasingly popular food trucks.
The first model in the series in the OTO Ice Cream Truck, which sports a combination of photorealistic and hand-drawn artwork. Customers who order it through the OTO Toy website can have the truck’s license plate personalized with the child’s name.
Every step of the truck-making process, from product design to manufacturing, is handled in the US. OTO trucks are made entirely out of recyclable cardboard and are food-grade, certified non-toxic. The trucks are manufactured near Philadelphia, about two hours away from Famous OTO headquarters in Brooklyn.
Famous OTO is the brainchild of Swedish-born creative designer Måns Swanberg. When he’s not designing toys, Swanberg is busy directing projects at the New York-based production company, Blacklist.
Swanberg said the toys were deliberately designed to be eye-catching and inviting, and promote real-world interaction (away from the blinking screens of tablets and video games). When the Famous OTO team took product pictures in a public park, they were swarmed by enthusiastic kids who simply took over playing with the trucks.
“So many toy manufacturers seem to think they can get away with sloppy design just because it’s for kids,” says Swanberg. “I think the opposite is true. Kids like to see that someone put effort into it. They have strong, innate aesthetic sensibilities and that should not be underestimated.”