STGCC 2012: Interview with Simone Legno of Tokidoki

We stole Simone Legno, the man behind Tokidoki, away from the show-floor of STGCC 2012 for an interview as he gave us his insight on Tokidoki, its future and his dream Tokidoki videogame.

RGB: Tokidoki is home to a whole family of characters. How do you bring each and every character to life?

Simone Legno: I like to always do something new, to think about new ideas. The inspiration for me comes from watching reality constantly. I think the most boring of places can give you new ideas. For example The Cactus Friends? I was in South Italy for summer, and it was so hot and it was just sand and cactuses. Even in the desert, there weren’t much. I wanted to find some ideas so watching the cactuses made me think they looked like bunnies and I invented the character from there. It’s just a matter of how I trained my head to always like to look for characters or ideas.

RGB: What, in your opinion, is the craziest character you ever created?

SL: Craziest? (laughs) You should see the ones that are totally uncommercial, the ones I just sketch for fun. The Royal Pride? I have the toys here. They are pretty violent, cute characters and I like violence and cute together. It’s a pretty interesting thing.

RGB: Among all your characters, do you have a personal favourite?

SL: I’ve often been asked about this and it depends. There are some favourite ones, obviously but, you know, it’s like asking my mum, “Do you love me more or my brother?”.

I have some for different reasons, like Bastardino which, for me, summarises Tokidoki. It’s a cactus guy, it’s cute and it’s angry. That’s the one, when I think Tokidoki, I think of first.

RGB: Are you afraid of the competition from other independent toy designers?

SL: Not really. I think there is space for everybody. I really don’t see any competitors (around me) because the real competitors are already too big like Sanrio and other big brands. It’s different being in the toy culture and something like Hello Kitty. I have my space and I just embrace other companies, collaborate with them. I have my own crowd.

RGB: We understand there used to be games on the Tokidoki website…

SL: The way I started my career, Tokidoki was very popular among the (Adobe) Flash design community in 2002. I had lots of games and at that time the Internet was not in every house and I had 17,000 to 20,000 people a day watching my website or playing my games and those were very popular at the time. “Sushi Race”, where you had these little sushi cars, and “Ninja Cupido”, where you had this cupid that throws shurikens instead of shooting arrows to bring together couples.

RGB: But with all that in mind, would you ever put Tokidoki in a full-fledged videogame?

SL: A videogame is one of my goals, but it’s a huge investment for a fashion company, taking millions of dollars and Tokidoki has to first become bigger and mainstream. It’s currently a little subculture.

RGB: If you did have the resources for a Tokidoki videogame, what would it be about?

SL: I would do a SANDy adventure game, where she will be going though different stages in various Tokidoki worlds, like a sweet world with donuts and stuff and a Royal Pride-inspired urban area. An adventure where she has to do something like old-school videogames, where she has to rescue her boyfriend.

RGB: When you first started Tokidoki, did you ever think that it could ever reach a level that it is today?

SL: No, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I didn’t dream about it. I would not have expected it. For me, when I printed my first T-shirt, I was the happiest guy in the world, like “Wow, I have my own T-shirt.”

RGB: How do you feel being such an icon now?

SL: To be honest, I don’t try to be too modest, it’s still just the beginning. I still feel very small when I see all the things I can do and maybe to some other people, I’m bigger than what, in reality, I am.

We’ve made some errors, but now with the experience in managing the company we can grow and maintain the brand and expand more internationally, like from this year, I’m really focusing more and more on Asia with my huge fanbase in Japan and from there, China.

RGB: Where can you see Tokidoki being in 5 years?

SL: Hopefully in most of the countries of the world.

RGB: Thank you for your time!