Toys by Design: Ferg - Design Bureau

Sqube by Ferg

In 2004, Ferg created a gig poster for electronic musician Squarepusher that marked the debut of Sqube, his minimalistic mash-up of a skull and a cube.

Sqube by Ferg

Toys by Design: Ferg

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

by Jeremy Brautman

Austin-based designer Ferg is at the helm of two toy companies—Jamungo and Playge— each of which are responsible for some of the most artfully executed acts of vinyl violence in the collectible toy genre. Ferg makes his figures out of an inherent need to get things out of his head and see them come to life. Although his ideas are plentiful,  Ferg's style is minimal. He favors a “less is more” approach to design: clean lines and a limited color palette. 

Ferg and artist Trevor Van Meter's first foray into toy-making was in 2006 with a series of anthropomorphic bombs inspired by the heyday of Hong Kong vinyl. These early Jamungo BUDS focused on the pent-up energies present inside inanimate objects. When the skull-headed Squadts series emerged in 2009, Ferg had gone solo and was incorporating cut-and-sew into his work. The dangerously perky, heavily armed Squadts made the macabre magnetic, and collectors took note. With impeccable quality and a high playability factor, the figures begged the question: art sculpture or vinyl toy? In response, Ferg asks: “If the piece is a figure or character, with an artistic execution, then why not make it fun to play with?”

Seeking to explore a more sinister side, Ferg founded Playge with vinyl veterans, Threezero. The name, Playge, is meant to hint at the dar, yet playful nature of the toys, and with releases like the Misfortune Cat, they deliver their message. “Collaborations bring new concepts and outcomes,” he says, a philosophy reflected in the success of a recent Squadt co-created with artist, Brandt Peters. “The toys are full time now...it's awesome, but it's a constant hustle,” he says. It may be hard work, but he’s not complaining. “You guys make it possible, and I am very grateful. Collect and Destroy.”

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