Birthday Cake Topper Concepts

One of my clients is DecoPac, Inc., a company that specializes in novelty birthday cakes. Most of my work for them involves licensed characters from Disney, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, etc. but every once in a while they hire me to work up an original cake concept. In this case they wanted to create a jumbo “Happy Birthday” cake design. This would be a “signature” cake, meaning it would be much larger and taller than a typical birthday cake.

The challenge was to create something fun and festive that hadn’t been done a hundred times before. I started by brainstorming a few possible novelty toys or doo-dad’s that could go on top of the cake. Something small and fun, but hopefully not too cliche. These were my first rough ideas:

Birthday cake topper ideas by Cedric Hohnstadt
(Click to enlarge.)

I also played around with a few ideas for a theme on the actual cake itself.:

Click to enlarge.
(Click to enlarge.)

The liked the 4th and 6th cake ideas, so I combined them into this concept:

birthday-sketch-v4abirthday-sketch-v4bFrom their DecoPac took this rough idea and worked with their manufacturers to develop the final product. As often happens, more changes were made as the idea continued to evolve in-house. Here’s how the final cakes turned out:



You can also view the final product on the DecoPac website.

Pit Stop Toy Design for Toys-R-Us

Last fall I was hired by Toys-R-Us to develop some rough concept sketches for a  race track playset they were working on. The idea was to decorate the track with interactive elements including a grandstand, pit stop, oil spill, and orange cones. These are some of the rough sketches I worked up based on the ideas they described. Ultimately the project went in another direction, but Toys-R-Us has given me permission to post the work I did.

(Click images to enlarge.)

Race Track Toy Design from Cedric Hohnstadt Illustration

Race Track Toy Design from Cedric Hohnstadt IllustrationPit Stop Toy Design from Cedric Hohnstadt IllustrationPit Stop Toy Design from Cedric Hohnstadt IllustrationRace Track Toy Design from Cedric Hohnstadt Illustration

Updated PDF Portfolios. Get ‘Em While They’re Hot!

Free PDF Portfolio Downloads from Cedric Hohnstadt Illustration

It’s been over a year since I last refreshed my PDF Portfolios. Since I just posted a brand spankin’ new logo, I thought it would be a good time to update them as well. The new portfolios come in four flavors: Character Design, Toy Design, Illustration, and FPO/Comp Art. Click the links to download or grab them off my Downloads page. They’re yours to keep so print them out, file them away, or share them with your friends.

Contact me if I can ever be of service and, as always, thanks for your interest in my work!

“Cut The Rope” Toy Design

Cut The Rope sketch

A few months ago I was hired by DecoPac, Inc. to design a “Cut The Rope” toy for their novelty cakes. Here’s how the final product turned out. Look for it at your local bakery this Spring. Nom! Nom!

Cut The Rope cake

Cut The Rope toy


Toy Design – Educational Slide Projector

Last year I was contacted by the Quois Corporation, a toy company in China that specializes in technology-based toys. They wanted to create an interactive slide projector and hired me to work up some ideas. The toy needed to have a projector lens, a slot for inserting cartridges and/or a thumb drive, and a method for advancing the slides.

Here’s a few of the initial rough thumbnails I came up with, just to get the discussion going (click to enlarge):

Projector toy design thumbnails

After some discussion the client decided to move forward with the snail idea. My next step was to develop some detailed sketches of possible snail designs. (Click to enlarge):

snail concept sketches

The client chose the first design (upper left). Here’s the final control drawing turnarounds I created (click to enlarge):

snail toy control drawing turnarounds

Eventually the project was killed and the toy was ultimately not manufactured. That kind of thing happens sometimes in this business. Regardless, I really enjoyed working on the project, the client was terrific, and I was still paid for my work. Even though the project didn’t get across the finish line I was grateful for the opportunity to take a crack at helping them out.

Madagascar 3 – Toy Designs

Madagascar 3 cake design

One of my regular clients is a toy company called DecoPac. They design many of the fancy birthday cakes you see in grocery store bakeries. They also create various toys and novelties to put on top of the cakes, often tying in with licensed characters and brands.

Last year they commissioned me to design a set of cake-top toys to tie in with the ‘Madagascar 3’ marketing campaign. I wasn’t told much about the movie other than that it had a circus theme, and DecoPac gave me some rough ideas of what they envisioned for the overall design. I worked up several thumbnails of each character, they picked the ones they liked, and based on those I worked up turnarounds.

Here’s the final art I submitted (click on the turnarounds to enlarge):

Alex turnaroundsGloria turnaroundsPenguins ring artPlac sketchRecently I received samples of the cake topper set in the mail. Here’s a quick photo taken with my blurry pocket camera. As you can see, the background plac design has been updated with official Madagascar style guide art (which I was not privy too), but otherwise everything turned out pretty close to what I designed: