Ello Creation System

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Ello Creation System
Ello Creation System logo.jpeg
Type Construction set
Inventor Richard Manville
Company Mattel, Inc.
Country United States
Availability 2002–2004
Slogan How do you Ello?

Ello Creation System was a construction toy manufactured by the American toy-company Mattel, Inc. from 2002-2004. The toy was created by American designer Richard Manville. Ello Creation System was a breakthrough toy created to engage girls in construction play.


Ello original play set and parts

Mattel Girls-Division President Adrienne Fontanella and Senior VP of Worldwide Girls Design Ivy Ross were looking for new opportunities for girls outside of dolls and traditional doll play-patterns.

In 2001, with the intent to find opportunity in non-traditional play patterns for girls, Ivy Ross created an in-house think tank (later named Project Platypus). The think tank consisted of a variety of volunteer Mattel employees from inside and outside of the product development department. The goal set for the think tank was to create a toy that would successfully engage girls in construction play.

Over a series of weeks the think tank divided into a collection of teams and individuals who developed competing concepts for a series of focus group testing and selection by girls and parents. A concept named Ello created by one of the teams and that included former Barbie Packaging Creative Director Richard Manville received enthusiastic praise from both girls and parents alike.

Described as a "creation system" the Ello concept (targeted primarily to girls ages 5 to 14) incorporated some traditional elements of craft (beading and graphic customization), shapes and panels in unique color palettes, a variety of themes, and a flexible intuitive building process. The toys variety and potential combination of parts gave children an opportunity to create characters, jewelry, buildings, decorative accessories, or whatever they could imagine.

Manville began the development of the toy in 2001, working with engineers Jim Mills-Winkler and Armen Danielian to perfect the core construction elements. Designer Stella Jung, inventor/engineer James Molina joined the team in 2002 to develop and expand the line.

The Ello product line won several Oppenheim platinum best toy awards for educational toy excellence in its short three-season life span. Development of the toy ceased in 2004.

No official explanation exists for the demise of the line.