Elder Alumni Feature: Steve Bono ’86

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Bono, working on his latest creation.

This year I have been on a journey featuring some unique Elder Alumni.

One thing remains the same with all of them. They all walked the same halls we do. Most of them went to the same parishes we went to. Most of them had a typical ‘west side life’. That line is coming from someone who has live in Lawrenceburg his entire life, far west some may argue.

Elder gives kids many opportunities to grow physically and spiritually. When Steve arrived to Elder in the fall of 1982 many opportunities were there for the taking. Steve fell in love with art.

Bono, with his R2-D2 toy

At the time the Elder Art Department was led by Bob Beemon ‘72, a man known for his interesting personality and wild imagination. Steve Bono started to become passionate about art and using his creative mind to showcase his work in unique ways. After Elder, Bono went to the University of Cincinnati and was in the DAAP Program. DAAP stands for Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. The DAAP program at Cincinnati is looked at as one of the most respected programs in the country.

After Bono graduated from DAAP he got a job at Hasbro. This game and toy company was started in Providence, Rhode Island in 1923. Since the beginning, Hasbro has been one of the largest game and toy company in the world and dominates about 12% of the toy and game market. Hasbro has the right to Star Wars, Monopoly, My Little Pony and Nerf to name a few.

Bono was doing a lot of toy development with these and others. From the DAAP alumni website, “developing several Transformers, including Optimus Prime, Nemesis Prime and Deception Rumble. He developed action figures for “Batman Forever,” “Batman & Robin,” “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” toy lines.” Bono also helped design figures for the “G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra” movie. Bono was able to live a personal dream of mine and millions of Star Wars fans, getting the chance to be on the set of a Star Wars movie. Bono’s career at Hasbro lasted 24 years when he left company to start his own studio, Kid Lightning Design Studio.

Kid Lightning Design Studio is set to personalize each toy and project to the view and vision of the customer. Bono has two young children. “They give me an insight to what kid’s are looking to get out of in toys”, Bono says. Kids these days have all kinds of options when it comes to toys to say it simply, the market is flooded with options for kids. The fastest growing market in the toy industry is virtual and mobile experiences. Bono has been able to adapt and change to find the needs of the kids in the ever-changing industry. Bono has been able to share his passion of captivating the minds of kids and showing them the joy of toys. Each day Bono gets to think about the next big toy to take over the market, and he gets to be a kid again. Sounds like a dream job.

Steve Bono is truly living out Altiora, striving for the higher things.