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Date: Fri 21-Aug-1998

Date: Fri 21-Aug-1998

Publication: Bee

Author: ANDYG

Quick Words:

business-Thin-Air-Trotto

Full Text:

Drawing Creative Ideas From Thin Air

(with cut)

BY ANDREW GOROSKO

A creative design group which recently relocated from Norwalk to Monroe is

hard at work on a chimerical concept -- the best ideas can spring to mind from

thin air.

Thin Air, LLC, has opened for business in office space at Clock Tower Square,

a shopping center on Route 25.

Laurie Trotto, Maureen Trotto, and Duane Langenwalter are partners in the

creative design group which employs a visual approach in toy invention,

promotion and graphics.

The Clock Tower Square location seemed a good spot to relocate to because the

group's principals live nearby in the southern section of Newtown, explained

Laurie.

Thin Air operates in the conceptual end of the toy industry, developing ideas

for new toys, which are brought to the stage of prototypes and then promoted

to toy industry executives for possible manufacture and marketing.

A colorful display in Thin Air's brightly-decorated quarters showcases some of

the many toys that the firm has developed including Bead Blast Barbie,

Sectaurs, and Boglins.

Bead Blast Barbie is a variation on the venerable Barbie line of fashion

dolls. Sectaurs, which are boys' action figures, are innovative hand puppets

based on insects. Boglins are "outrageous creatures that come alive in your

hands."

"All the good concepts come from thin air," explained Laurie, noting that the

most successful ideas for new toys often just pop into one's mind.

Laurie is involved in the business end of Thin Air.

Maureen works in toy invention. Thin Air's toy concepts stem from Maureen's

background in theatrical design.

Duane is in the creative end of the business, working in computerized design.

S. Earl Gordon, is president of Thin Air Graphics, a division of Thin Air,

LLC.

In developing its ideas for new toys, Thin Air researches what toys are

currently being sold by manufacturers and seeks to create products that are

not currently available, Laurie explained. An important component of Thin

Air's work is presenting its concepts for toys to manufacturers, Maureen said.

Recently, Thin Air presented 19 concepts for possible toys to Mattel, a major

toy manufacturer. Thin Air hopes that some of those ideas eventually will

evolve into mass-manufactured toys. Toy manufacturers handle the advertising

and promotion of the specific toys they make.

"We're always trying to find something that hasn't been out before," Maureen

said.

"Many times, we'll go in (to product promotions) with something too creative

for the mass market," said Laurie.

Thin Air isn't the typical kind of toy invention firm, explained Duane.

An important part of working in the toy industry is knowing the business well,

explained Earl. Thin Air keeps abreast of trends in the marketplace, he said.

Toy planning is done well in advance, he said.

"We thrive on the idea of challenge," said Maureen.

In addition to its work in the field of toy invention, Thin Air also is

involved in graphic design for corporate markets, according to Earl. Packaging

materials are designed as are graphic items intended to project a sense of

corporate identity.