Inventor Plays With Innovative Toy Inspiration

How many times have you toyed with your inventions before reaching a final product? For over a quarter century, Tony Morley has tinkered with 30 creations that have been manufactured. Actual prototypes reach into the thousands.

Morley grew up in California and graduated from Brigham Young University with an industrial art degree before starting a series of jobs in product design that took him to six different states. At one point he worked for a small (now defunct) game company in Minneapolis called Lakeside Games. Then came a Cincinnati, Ohio, gig designing Star Wars-themed toys for Kenner Products, a company later bought by Tonka Corp., then Hasbro Inc.

That was followed by a job designing games for Milton Bradley in Springfield, Mass., between 1984 and 1986. There he met his wife Taia, a fellow game designer. They moved to Minneapolis so she could take a job with what was then Tonka Corp. and he could join two partners in a small independent toy design group. Shortly afterward the partners amicably went in different directions and Morley struck out on his own, keeping the group’s original name, Red Racer Studio.

A typical day for Morley now involves “making messes and tinkering” in his home workshop. He designs toy packaging in addition to toys.

“I have a shop with some machines that help me cut and saw and mill and paint and stuff like that,” he noted. “But I spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen too.” He said he relies more on instinct than market research.

Image from Tobbles

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