The New DTA Structure!

With two years of the Designer Toy Awards under our belt, we continue to learn and grow based on what we have found has worked and what has not. In response to some of the most common comments about our process, we've radically restructured the entire nomination, voting, and finalist procedure to help ensure quality winners while still garnering input from the entire community.

First off, we're making the eligibility period for nominees completely year based: if it came out in 2012, then it can be nominated for the 2013 DTAs. No more worrying about what month it was released in… if it shipped in 2012, then it is golden!

We're also launching the awards with a curated list of nominees that we've entered ourselves, something you might've already noticed if you checked out the nominees. We painstakingly researched all the releases in 2012 and carefully selected our favorites. This will help ensure, we hope, that no serious contenders are left out in the cold when all is said and done. But we obviously still want your input, so if you think we missed something then please nominate it in the most appropriate category! And Fan Favorite and Best Collection start with no nominees in them, so it is completely up to you to fill them up!

Speaking of categories… We've decided to merge the categories of Best Toy from a Comic and Best Licensed Product into one super category called Best Media Tie-in; if a production piece was derived from any mass media release — movie, tv show, comic book, novel, whatever — then it is eligible here! And as much as we love supporting those that self-produce everything themselves, we've decided to expand the Best Self-produced category by mutating it into the Best Resin. Oh, and we created Best Vinyl as well!

Wait, Best Vinyl? Isn't that what Toy of the Year is for? Well, no… Toy of the Year in absolutely no way has to be made of vinyl. In fact, this year all the finalists in Toy of the Year will be the highest publicly voted upon nominees within the following categories: Best 1/6th Scale, Best Collaboration, Best Media Tie-In, Best Mini Series, Best Plush, Best Resin, Best Sofubi, Best Vinyl, and Outstanding Production. Basically, if it is a toy and it gets tons of love from the public, then it will be a finalist for Toy of the Year!

Speaking of voting and finalists, the most radical change was to the actual voting process: you, the public, can vote in just about every single category now! Here's how it breaks down:

Best Blog, Best Collection, Best Toy Store, Best Online Toy Store and Fan Favorite are completely fan voted… the nine most voted upon entries in each will become the finalists and then the most voted upon finalist in each will become the winner! Absolute, 100% the say of the fans!

Artist of the Year will have all nine finalists picked by the public, meaning the most voted on nominees will become the finalists! But once those finalists are chosen, it will be the job of the DTA Board to select the winner.

With all the remaining categories, five of the nine finalists in each will be decided by majority public voting, with the remaining finalists determined by our Nomination Committee. And then the ultimate winner in each will be chosen by the DTA Board, who won't know what was publicly chosen versus Nomination Committee picked.

Though, of course, the Lifetime Achievement award will remain outside of the entire voting process.