Have you ever wandered through the toy section at your local department store and noticed the incredible number of different dolls available? Have you ever looked at the Barbie dolls in particular and thought, "I could design one of those if I just knew how"? Designing barbie dolls (or any doll) actually isn't that complicated; you can do it by breaking it down into specific steps.
Decide whether you want your Barbie to be male or female.
Consider what ethnicity you want your Barbie to be. The most common ethnicities produced in dolls are Caucasian, African American and Latino/Latina, but this means that there is a market for other ethnicities such as Asian and Indian.
Decide on a skin color shade, after taking your ethnicity choice into consideration,
Select the color of hair you want your doll to have. This does not necessarily need to correspond with the stereotypical hair color for your chosen ethnicity—you can design your doll to have "dyed" hair and highlights no matter what the base hair color is.
Choose an eye color for your doll.
Theme and External
Decide what focus you want the doll to have, if any. For example, you could recreate Stunt Barbie, Fashion Model Barbie, Rock Star Barbie, etc. This theme will have an impact on all of the non-body design for the doll.
Think about what clothing the theme implies. For example, Ski Barbie probably would wear a jacket and ski pants rather than a bikini.
Pick a color or colors for the clothing.
Select on any accessories the doll should have, such as special shoes (e.g., Roller Skating Barbie), glasses, hair brushes, purses, microphone or instrument, etc. As you do this, consider how the accessories will be attached (if needed) to the doll and whether they will be potential choking hazards for the consumer. Also consider whether the accessory is easily cleaned up (e.g., glitter gel) and whether it could produce an allergic reaction or safety issue of any kind.
Draw out a sketch of your doll, clothing and accessories with colored pencils (optional). You can use this to share your idea with other people and possibly produce the doll.
Create prototypes of all you can associated with the doll. Easy prototypes to make are the clothing articles.
Review your prototypes for design flaws (e.g., earrings that will get caught in the hair of the doll, parts that come off too easily, etc.).
As you design your doll, consider stereotypes and do your best to avoid them. For instance, an African American barbie called Gangster Barbie undoubtedly would anger members of the African American community. This includes gender stereotypes.