How Action Figures Get Made Part 1: Design

Ever wonder how we make your action figures? Take a peek into our Brooklyn design studio and see how we turn an idea into the tiny but powerful action figure that arrives at your door. There are two major steps in creating an action figure: design and production. In this post, we’ll talk about our design process. Get ready to geek out with us!


First, we decide which public figure should get their own action figure. This usually involves keeping tabs on the news, listening to your requests (keep ‘em coming!), and trusting our instincts. It’s not a perfect science, but we’ve got a pretty good track record of spotting real-life heroes in the making.

Once we decide which action figure we’re going to make, our product team does a deep dive into the life of that person. Sometimes this means we work with an outside organization connected to a figure (like the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative). Usually though, we pour over articles, photos, and videos of the person to build out a super-detailed mood board.

From there we put together a creative brief and send it over to our sculptor friend Mike Leavitt in Seattle. He’s the artist behind our entire line of Real Life Action Figures, and his name is on the back of every action figure package we make. He starts with a simple sketch and moves on to several rounds of intricate sculptures art directed by our product team in Brooklyn.

When the final sculpt is finished, we send it over to our factory in China. There they make a 3D scan and perform several revisions until our product team agrees that everything feels and looks right. Sometimes the factory paints the final prototype and sometimes we do it in-house

Our product designer Ashlee works closely with our co-founder Alyssa to perfect the product packaging. They like to include little details like quotes, colors, and textures that echo the personality of the real person. And best of all, our boxes are designed so you can open them without ruining their mint condition. Once the figure and packaging are as close to perfect as we can make them, we start production. Check back next week for our post on the production process!


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