Mercyhurst Magazine Spring 2022

Young alumni … intrepid pioneers Life’s a playground for toy designer Ashley Favata By Kristian Biega

Have you ever taken the time to really admire the craft behind toy design? Each sparkly streamer, colorful pattern, or exciting light and sound display had to be thoughtfully imagined by a designer long before a toy reaches the hands of a child. A senior graphic designer at Dynacraft Wheels, Ashley Favata ’16 uses her experience in graphic arts and fashion to design rideable toys that inspire children to explore and play.

“Working with all of the toys and brands that I grew up with makes my younger self really happy,” said Favata. In addition to working with name-brand products, one of Favata’s proudest achievements is her original designs for rideable plush animals called the Zoo Crew.

Her designs of a plush gir af e, panda, and elephant are now sold in Walmart stores nationwide.

“It’s really cool to see my designs in stores and on social media,” Favata said. “I also love having the photo shoots with the kids and the Zoo Crew. Seeing the kids hug and play

Favata began her career

with Dynacraft Wheels, the largest privately

held bicycle and wheeled goods distributer in the world, shortly after graduating from

with the plush animals is so

funny and fun.” Some of Favata’s other favorite projects include a rideable bus, a food truck with accessories, a dog wash station, and butter f y wings on a Barbie bike. Working with major retailers could be intimidating for some, but Favata has never shied away from the more challenging aspects of her job. “Designing in this industry is a weird balance between excitement and nervousness. It is a fun challenge

Mercyhurst, a journey that took the Bu f alo, New York, native to Atlanta, Georgia.

She’s been impressed by the vision of the company, led by owners who support their designers’ ideas but like to push the creative envelope. (Can it be more exciting, more imaginative, or more kid-friendly?) The result, she said, is that “Dynacraft is one of th e f rst companies, if not th e f rst, to start new trends in kids’ toys.” During the past several years at Dynacraft, Favata has applied her skills to various aspects of the design process, including social media, photography, graphics and logos, and training other designers. One of two senior designers on the team, her primary role is visual design. “In the design process, I get to do everything from lighting and sound e f ects,

to have deadlines, when you want to be sure to present your best designs all the time,” Favata said.

Favata said her foundation in art from Mercyhurst plays a major role in her job today, recalling lessons learned both in and out of the classroom. She was encouraged to pursue her creative passions by combining her graphic design major with fashion merchandising in a contract major. “I feel that I got my current job because of my experience with fashion as well as graphic design,” Favata said. “I really am grateful for all of the hands-on learning experiences and the support of my professors at Mercyhurst.” After nearl y f ve years with Dynacraft, Favata is grateful for the opportunities provided in her career and the experiences that helped her make it happen. “I got really lucky with this job,” Favata said. “I always knew that I wanted to go into a creative career, so right after graduation I dove into applying for any kind of design job I coul d f nd. I never imagined that I’d move to Georgia to work with toys, but I love what I do and am thankful that I get to be creative every day.”

to choosing the color and texture of the bikes, to the streamers and graphics on them – we are encouraged to try anything we can imagine,” said Favata. “My role in visual design means that I work closely with the industrial designers to ensure that everything I want to make visually can work physically.” When designing its quads, bikes, and electric ride-on toys, Dynacraft often works with notable brands including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Baby Shark, Marvel, and Transformers.


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