Get to Know: FiGPiN & Former Funko Graphic and Product Designer Poppy Helt

Poppy Helt is a Graphic and Product Designer who first got her start at Funko by betting on herself. Today she is a Principal Designer for FiGPiN with a wealth of experience crafting some of your favorite collectibles. 

Poppy took some time recently to share a few of her favorite designs, inspirations and lots more.

Over to you, Poppy!

How’d you get started in design?

I grew up with a mother who was a hobby artist, so I was always exposed to all sorts of different mediums and encouraged to create. I decided at age 25 to go to school for graphic design with an emphasis on packaging, and after that I finally got some design related jobs.

What led you to toy design?

I was doing contract production work for a company (photo cleaning) and after a year I had to have a 90-day break before I could go back to work for them. Right before my yearly contract was up, I emailed Funko and said I would work for free for those three months to get some experience in the toy industry. They had me come on (and paid me), and after 30 days asked if I would want to be full-time.

What are some of the inspirations that go into your style?

It depends on who I am designing for, but I personally love bright, saturated colors. I would want my style ideally to be similar to Japanese woodblock prints (ukiyo-e), or like Ayako Ishiguro’s art, but my comfort zone is in making things cute and maybe a little creepy.

What was the first piece you ever designed and for who?

First toy design was at Funko, and it was the Hot Topic Guy for Hot Topic.

What goes into a design? How long is the process?

I’m a rarity in that I am very fast when it comes to designing, usually because once I get the idea in my head, I know exactly how I can execute it. Depending on who I am designing for and how complex it is, it can take a couple hours or up to a week to get initial concepts. I did a personal project recently that I wanted to do in the Constructivist style so I sketched it out first, then I went to vector for clean, hard lines. (see below)

What’s the favorite piece you’ve designed?

Officially made product: I really love the Saga Funko Pop!s I designed because I lobbied for them for a while, and I got to do everything on them except the sculpting (which was done by Amanda Brock who is also a fan). For fun: I made a Baldur’s Gate 3 set of miniatures while lockdown was happening, this was before I took courses and extra certifications in 3D sculpting so now I look back and can see things I would do differently, but I still love them.

What do you love about your craft?

Giving someone else joy through something I helped create is the best feeling in the world. When people realize that you are also a fan and put as much love into it as they have there’s a wonderful connection that happens.

Are you a collector or were you growing up?

I was. I collected porcelain animal statues as a kid, then moved on to comic books. Now it’s mostly Japanese art books and prints from Ukiyo-e Heroes on my walls.

Is there anything you’d love to design that you haven’t yet?

Video game characters! I went back to school last year and took a 10-course track for 3D character design for games. I’ve also been thinking about going back and doing some more courses focusing on 2D drawing as well.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just my portfolio with some of my favorites. See them here!

Thank you, Poppy!

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4 months ago

great article! cheers!

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