Dave Okada

Thursday, December 6th, 7:00 – 9:30pm

Real Designing For The Toy World

In the Duncan Anderson Design Department Gallery at California State University, Long Beach

Dave Okada tells us why he likes toys and about the importance of toys and designing products for children. He presents an overview of the toy industry and compares it to other “more glamorous” product industries.

He reveals the skill sets and personality traits needed by potential toy designers and speaks on the highs and lows of a lifetime in toy design including key roles in the creation and development of products like Mattel’s Barbie, Electronic See and Say, Kenner’s Play-Doh, The Six Million Dollar Man, Stretch Armstrong, Star Wars Figures, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, and Teenage Mutant Turtles.

Dave was born in Maui, Hawaii and grew up in a family that insisted on making their own, homemade toys. What began as a hobby, as the family and neighborhood toymaker, ultimately became his lifelong career.

Dave received his B.S. in General Engineering from Stanford University and returned to Stanford to earn his M.S. in Product Design. He also served two years, as a lieutenant, in the U.S. Army Security Agency working on classified “spy stuff”.

He started out as a preliminary designer at Mattel Toys and worked his way up to Senior Vice President of Design at Mattel, Kenner-Tonka and Playmates Toys. He has been a design consultant for major companies such as Leapfrog Toys, Intex Recreation Corporation and Riddell Sports.

Dave is currently a semi-retired toy designer, inventing and designing sustainable products for both toys, and lawn & garden supplies. He is also developing meaningful activities for the very elderly and writing and illustrating a series of children’s books.