Qee, pronounced as 'key', is a registered design patent from Hong Kong and created by founder and President of Toy2r, Raymond Choy. Qee was introduced in 2002 causing hype amongst toy collectors worldwide, but soon after caught the attention and imagination of art lovers, graphic designers and the world's youth alike. Qee figures vary in their design. The original Qee has a body that resembles an extremely simplified human form, somewhat similar in appearance to Playmobil or LEGO figures, though distinctively round and squat. Depending on its theme, a figure may have the head of a bear with asymmetrical ears called a BearBearQ; a cat called KitCatQ; a dog called DoggyQ; a monkey called MonQ; or a rabbit called Bunee. The Toyer Qee has the same body type as the original, but a head that resembles a cartoon skull. The Knuckle Bear Qee was created by Japanese character designer Touma, and resembles a graffiti-style caricature of an anthropomorphized bear. The Qee Egg simply resembles an anthropomorphized egg. The standard size is 2.5" high, and these figures are packaged with an optional keychain attachment. There are also 1.5", 8", 16", "36", and 60" Qees. Additionally, Toy2R produces Blank Platform DIY ; these figures may be of any Qee design, but are packaged unpainted.
Qees are produced in limited numbers and are highly collectible; they are predominantly collected by adults. Many contemporary artists and designers from Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America have designed figures. Typically, designing a Qee figure means creating a design scheme, or deco, for one of the aforementioned molds.
The casual observer may note similarities between Qees and the Kubrick and Be@rbrick figures created by Japanese toy company MediCom. However, closer observation reveals that Qees differ not only in size, but in their overall aesthetic. Relative to MediCom, Toy2R releases very few licensed designs, such as figures based on characters from films, comic books, or other intellectual properties. Exceptions to this are Qees created for Adidas, Benetton, BenQ, BMW, Christian Lacroix, Dark Horse Comics, Devo, DKNY, Mitsubishi, MTV, Nokia, SanDisk, Samsung, Sony, Starbucks, Swatch, Target, V.S.O.P. and Xbox 360, as well as a figure created in conjunction with tokidoki for LeSportsac, in which the figure is a design element of a women's travel bag.
There are currently five series of Qees, and an anticipated total of 1500 2.5" figures.
Qee is a user-friendly product with a simple two-step process for assembling and disassembling your accessible Qee-chain. All you need to do is follow these simple steps:
1. Twist the head gently from side-to-side until the head detaches from the body.
2. Place the Qee-chain around the neck of the Qee and reattach the head to the body.