Soon after the second film's release, almost every 8-year-old in the country entered into Jedi training wielding a lightsaber and toting a fist full of action figures.
"This was the dream job for a designer," Swearingen says. "Since I had been in on it from the beginning I got to do all kinds of things that people don't do today. I got to go and see some shooting. They were doing special effects. I got to view all of that stuff as a relatively young designer."
Once Kenner was bought by Hasbro in 1992, Swearingen and coworkers Tom Osborne, DAAP '75, and Tim Effler, DAAP '74, started SOEDA in Cincinnati, which stands for Swearingen, Osborne and Effler Design Associates.
While with SOEDA they spent 15 years doing contract work for major toy companies across the country, often specializing in licensed products from movies such as "Alien," "Jurassic Park," "Men in Black" and "Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man's Chest."
Their Ultimate Black Pearl Pirate Ship play set design even landed toymaker Zizzle a 2007 Toy of the Year Award. The awards are the toy industry's Oscars.
Whether designing concepts, sculpting figurines or improving on existing concepts, UC's elves agree on one thing about their toys, "They have to be fun!"
And as Swearingen says, "Toys can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be. But it really has to be fun for kids. And it is fun if it tweaks your imagination."