Barbie and Adobe Firefly Generative AI: Bringing magic to Mattel’s packaging


It’s hard to believe, but Barbie just celebrated her 65th anniversary. Over these six decades, Barbie has been breaking down barriers and engaging generations through storytelling. As the “most diverse doll line on the market”, Barbie is continuing to inspire young children to be confident, daring, brave and legendary – shaping their own future. For many loyal customers, the story often begins on the store shelf, even before she’s left the box. Barbie’s packaging, carefully crafted to spur the imagination, has become an integral part of the overall experience:

“The power of Adobe Firefly generative AI is that it can take what we have in our heads and more accurately portray that vision on digital paper.” Sal Velazquez, Barbie Staff Packaging Designer, Mattel

Adobe Firefly for creative ideation
Mattel and Adobe have been partnering for decades. Mattel’s design teams use a suite of Adobe products, including Creative Cloud tools like Substance 3D to ideate with 3D mockups. Designers use the mockups to pitch different concepts, without needing to create physical prototypes. Adobe Firefly is further accelerating these workflows, beginning with the initial kernels of an idea.

All packaging concepts at Mattel begin as rough sketches (also known as bluelines). The design team creates multiple options and then iterates on them, as the initial concepts move through feedback and review cycles. This process can often be time consuming as designs are finetuned with stakeholders. Adobe Firefly allows creatives to more quickly produce high-fidelity results, achieving earlier and stickier alignment.

Now, with simple text prompts, Mattel designers use Adobe Firefly to instantly generate high-quality imagery and color palette ideas. It provides a flexible and imaginative way for designers to present packaging concepts and environments for Barbie to be placed. And it allows other teams to see a rendering that is close to what the final packaging would look like. In this ideation stage, designers working in Adobe Photoshop can easily edit and enhance the AI-generated concepts, polishing the images further using Generative Fill and Generative Expand to add or remove elements.

“The power of Adobe Firefly generative AI is that it can take what we have in our heads and more accurately portray that vision on digital paper,” said Sal Velazquez, Barbie Staff Packaging Designer. “Not only can we capture the full effect of colors and design elements, there’s also inherent creativity in experimenting with Gen AI that allows us to get to cool places that we may have never arrived at, otherwise.”

Being able to leverage generative AI to create concepts and environments for Barbie delivers both strategic and efficiency gains. And for Sal and other designers, it frees up time to finesse and polish assets even further (with fewer constraints) and explore new creative avenues. It also brings the creative and marketing teams closer together. By eliminating certain manual processes and getting to the full vision of an idea with greater accuracy, marketers receive assets more quickly, and internal review cycles are accelerated.

Adobe built Firefly to help brands reimagine every step in the process of creating and delivering an engaging customer experience. Mattel is uniquely demonstrating the value AI can bring to the very beginning of this process, taking the ideas in their creators’ heads and bringing them to life in an instant.


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