Gary Card on living out his dream as a toy designer

Designing toys has become a seamless part of Gary Card’s practice, which has brought him dream collaborations and a host of weird and wonderful characters

For set designer and artist Gary Card, designing toys has been a part of his plan since childhood. “I always wanted to be a toy designer when I was a kid, that was my ultimate dream as I’m sure it was for many kids my generation,” says Card. “Becoming a set designer seemed like a natural progression as it’s basically like making giant toys for big companies.” 

Card’s work can be categorised as chaotic, colourful and imaginative. He’s become known for his extravagant and vivid installations and sets for brands like Comme des Garçons, Hermès and Balenciaga, and his work away from brands is even wilder. In early 2019, Card added another string to his creative bow and released a set of toys he designed through a collaboration with Unbox Industries, a toy production company based in Hong Kong.

Smudge from the Breakfast Boys

“Dan Willet, who heads up the European division of Unbox Industries, wrote to me in a private message on Instagram after seeing photos of a dog installation I’d put up and just asked if I was interested in turning those dogs into toys,” explains Card. “I politely said no, but that I did want to make toys! I wanted to do something a bit crazier than the dogs, and he was up for it.” And so Card began to work on some concepts that would enable him to live out his childhood dream.