Nobody can accuse artist and designer Amaury Lemal of being unimaginative. His recent series of toy designs and illustrations titled 'The Barbatonics' is an exploration of whimsy. From black to red to blue, the eight characters are rendered in a variety of colors, but all maintain the same funky, cuddly aesthetic.

The look of Lemal's work is reminiscent of Japanese kawaii design as well as the Mr. Men characters by Roger Hargreaves. In other words, they are imaginative, endearing designs that have just as much potential as storybook or cartoon characters as they do as toys.

There is little doubt that these concept characters would resonate well with small children. However, they could very well have just as much appeal to niche areas of the grown-up market as well. Indeed, toy design has inspired a wide range of products from laptop decals to casual fashion.