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Why was bluish grey introduced?

PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,617
I've done a bit of a search but can't find any topics about this. I'm curious as to when and why bluish grey replaced the old grey? Did TLG ever give a reason for the change?

I'm not actually that bothered about bluish grey having replaced old grey, as I only got back into Lego last year, but I am curious about the reasoning behind it. If anyone could explain, that'd be much appreciated.

Thanks!

Comments

  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    Bluish-Gray is better for consumption, having both less cholesterol and less calories than gray does. When kids chew on their Lego, bluish-gray pieces therefore help fight childhood obesity and keep the little bastards healthier.

    I'm not sure Lego gave a "reason" per se; they simply did it. It might have worked more complimentary combined with the rest of their color palette but I don't think they ever said exactly why they made the switch.
    Lego_Lord_MayorcaOldfanBumblepants
  • LegoMom1LegoMom1 Member Posts: 652
    edited June 2013
    Because it is most people's favorite color. :)
  • JosephJoseph Member Posts: 651
    edited June 2013
    I believe it happened about late 2003/early 2004. As for the reasoning, a quick search of the forum led me to this: http://news.lugnet.com/lego/?n=1791 which has a little explanation.
  • legoprodslegoprods SpainMember Posts: 441
    I recall reading that the excuse that Lego gave out for the changes on Gray and Brown is that they gave some kids both colors, and kids in general seemed to like better the new one.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    Bley is brighter and thus more appealing. It's kind of like why people prefer glossy over matte. Chrome minifigs over lackluster Han Solo minifigs.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Chrome Han Solo?
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    mathew said:

    Bley is brighter and thus more appealing. It's kind of like why people prefer glossy over matte. Chrome minifigs over lackluster Han Solo minifigs.

    Not a good comparison since the reasons for liking each are completely different. Plenty of people like Han Solo figure while chrome is just a novelty. Now, for something like C-3PO, chrome has appeal but that's not the same with other chrome figures.

    The same can be said for "brighter" colors. Plenty of people prefer the old gray for simulating the look of stone over blue-gray. What one finds "appealing" is subjective and not as cut-and-dried.

    Kanohi
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,405
    The Classic Grey tends to yellow over time or yellows when exposed to sunlight. The Bley is much brighter and I haven't noticed any change in color with my Bley pieces.
  • BrewBrew New Mexico (It's an actual state in the US)Member Posts: 182
    I was under the impression that color changes during this time had to do with the massive supply chain revamping that took place in order to eventually fix the profitability of TLG. The first part of this included changing raw material supply resulting in the opportunity to slightly change some colors.

    This is only my impression and could be wrong.
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 509
    The reason was two-fold. Brew is basically right on the first part, they changed suppler. The current base colors are different from what they were getting from the old suppler. As such some colors were really difficult and expensive to match or keep consistent.

    The second has to do the over all color palette. Lego said the rapid palette expansion in the late 90s and early 00s was done in a very non-systematic way. They needed to overhaul both the color palette and a how they expand it in the future. The change of suppler gave the an opportunity to do this overhaul and be much more systematic with their colors.

    The grays, brown and a number of lesser used colors like some pinks, blues and purples were changed. Because the lesser used colors were all less then ten years old there was very little up roar over them. The grays and brown are another issue for an other thread.
  • DevastatorDevastator Member Posts: 66
    You are wrong. I heard they added a pet repellent to keep cats and puppies from destroying pieces.
  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410

    You are wrong. I heard they added a pet repellent to keep cats and puppies from destroying pieces.

    Those Danes are Genius ;)
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,548

    You are wrong. I heard they added a pet repellent to keep cats and puppies from destroying pieces.

    They obviously failed.

  • DiggydoesDiggydoes Cologne/GermanyMember Posts: 1,079
    While this may not help to find the answer to the OP question i kinda prefer the LBG over the old Grey, but the old dark Grey kicks dark bluish Grey in the a**!
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734
    Joseph said:

    I believe it happened about late 2003/early 2004.

    It was gradual, though, wasn't it? For example, I have a copy of #7195, from 2009, that came with an old dark gray piece (the horse hitch).
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,617
    ^^^ The tree is green though. Clearly they didn't add a pet repellent to that colour, as it's always been the same ;)

    Oh and thank you to everyone for the replies! :)
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 810
    edited June 2013

    The reason was two-fold.

    ... Sorta ... ... but not really.

    There are a lot of reasons for the resulting colors changing.

    (1) LEGO very intentionally changed the color palette to make their colors better. They started a project in roughly 2000 (rolled out in 2004), which had several goals, one of which eventually became changing certain colors like gray, dark gray, and brown. This had nothing to do with suppliers, or cost savings, or reliability, or anything else. They just wanted to make their product better.

    (2) They changed suppliers. I don't know much about the details here, but the rumor has it that they were worried about sourcing everything from a single supplier, and as a result got plastic sourced from 2 sources. If anyone has more detail (like when that happened, and which molding facilities were affected), I'd love to hear it.

    Anyway, that wasn't an INTENTIONAL change. They were trying to keep the colors as consistent as possible, but there may have been minor variations as a result.

    (3) They changed the molding process. Around 2006/2007-ish, parts started getting molded with dye-injection. They used to get pre-colored ABS pellets from their suppliers, so the consistency was very good. However, that cost a lot of money in storage (you have to predict how much you're going to use in advance, and keep it somewhere). The new method involved translucent ABS pellets, and a dye injection when the parts are cast.

    That again wasn't an intentional change to the colors. They were still trying to keep the colors the same, but resulted in variants since the dyes being injected in different places at different times made for a lot more complex process.

    (4) They changed plastic suppliers in China. Chinese molding facilities ended up using a Chinese supplier for ABS, again different from their standard sources (actually, the rumor there is that the supply COMPANY was the same, but the plastic that was sourced was different). Again, unintentional, but resulted in minor discrepancies in the colors.

    DaveE
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    binaryeye said:

    Joseph said:

    I believe it happened about late 2003/early 2004.

    It was gradual, though, wasn't it? For example, I have a copy of #7195, from 2009, that came with an old dark gray piece (the horse hitch).
    It wasn't meant to be, they made an effort to make a complete change all in January 2004. A few parts probably slipped through and the same set in each color could be found for awhile.

    UCS ISD for example, 10030, can be had in both the old and new gray.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,861
    davee123 said:

    The reason was two-fold.

    ... Sorta ... ... but not really.

    There are a lot of reasons for the resulting colors changing.

    DaveE
    Most of these reasons seem correct according to what I've heard, with the exception of one detail of the second one: LEGO uses the same plastic supplier for all their production facilities other than the one they lease in China. As I understand it, what they diversified were the suppliers for colored dye.

    Anyway, this first change you mention was the one that really led to the replacement of the old gray colors (2 Grey, 27 Dark Grey, and 103 Light Grey) with new ones (194 Medium Stone Grey, 199 Dark Stone Grey, and 208 Light Stone Grey). Some official sources I've read say this was connected with the effort to eventually reduce their sprawling color palette; others treat the two events as unrelated but more or less concurrent.

    Other colors that changed around 2004 include 3 Light Yellow, 9 Light Reddish Violet (Pink), 22 Medium Reddish Violet (Dark Pink), 25 Earth Orange (classic Brown), and 105 Bright Yellowish Orange (Bricklink's Medium Orange), which were replaced with 226 Cool Yellow, 222 Light Purple (Bright Pink), 221 Bright Purple (new Dark Pink), 192 Reddish Brown, and 191 Flame Yellowish Orange (Bricklink's Bright Light Orange). The grays and classic brown being replaced elicited the most reaction, since the differences in the pinks were more subtle and anyway the other colors that got replaced were relatively obscure in comparison.

    I personally prefer the new grays and brown in almost all cases. They just seem less dingy to me, and I expect that's why the kids TLG tested the new colors with preferred them as well.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 810
    Aanchir said:

    LEGO uses the same plastic supplier for all their production facilities other than the one they lease in China.

    Yep, although I was once told that the supply company in China is the same company, just with a different ABS source.
    Aanchir said:

    As I understand it, what they diversified were the suppliers for colored dye.

    Ok, that makes more sense to me than the multi-suppliers for plastics. Do you know when that switch was made? Or anything about how the different dye sources are used?
    Aanchir said:

    Some official sources I've read say this was connected with the effort to eventually reduce their sprawling color palette; others treat the two events as unrelated but more or less concurrent.

    Yeah, my impression was that the group that was tasked with looking at the color palette had an initial goal of reducing the color palette, but that in the process, they decided to also look at replacing other colors, so there was some overlap in the tasks.
    Aanchir said:

    I personally prefer the new grays and brown in almost all cases. They just seem less dingy to me, and I expect that's why the kids TLG tested the new colors with preferred them as well.

    I find that the older grays (being slightly more yellow/brown) looked a bit worn, rusted, or dirty. And since the yellowing of elements pushes them further in that direction, it makes it all the more pronounced. The newer grays (being bluer) look newer and more almost more metallic.

    Hence, where I want to make things like rock faces or broken-down, rusty vehicles, the older colors work better. And where I want shiny new stuff, the newer colors look better.

    But what's key there (IMHO) is that LEGO models, or even individual elements simply look crisper, newer, and less dingy when made with the newer colors. So a parent looking at older colors is more likely to think the pieces are older, because they're less vibrant. So it gives the product a better feel to have the newer colors.

    Overall, it's such a minor change that I doubt it makes much of a difference to the kids buying LEGO (but a huge difference for many AFOLs!)-- IE, I still think it was a bad decision to change the colors at all-- But the change itself was probably for the better.

    DaveE
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,288
    Thanks for the insight @aanchir and @davee123 . I've long held the belief that light gray changed because it was among the colors most prone to fading. If I recall, that theory was formed by the community prior to Jake McKee's explanation, and if he was willing to voluntarily swear on bibles that it wasn't the case, that's enough for me.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,667
    hmph, and all this time I thought it was to get AFOLs something else to complain about in the forums. :-p
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,758
    edited June 2013
    Found it! I knew we'd already covered this. Another pointless topic! :-P

    http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/606/new-grey-lego-colour
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,617
    ahhh! Fair enough, although I did do a search before posting.

    Plus, I notice the old thread is just about someone asking about the colour difference, not why it was changed. Therefore I feel justified in starting a new thread about this (especially since the old one is over 2 years old) ;)
  • LegoboyLegoboy 100km furtherMember Posts: 8,758
    Just playin'. :-)
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,548
    Why?

    After reading this ... http://www.newelementary.com/

    the obvious answer is to keep @caperberry happy!
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,617
    edited June 2013
    ^^ I know ;)

    It's interesting reading the old LUGnet thread when the change was first discovered, people going ballistic about it. I bet there's still people, nearly 10 years on, with a chip on their shoulder about it.

    I've only seen the old grey a few times, but I do prefer the newer colour. To me the old one seems... almost brownish.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 810
    edited June 2013

    It's interesting reading the old LUGnet thread when the change was first discovered, people going ballistic about it. I bet there's still people, nearly 10 years on, with a chip on their shoulder about it.

    Well, basically, people had been spending LOTS of time and money building up collections of those colors. Normal gray especially. I personally had about 300k bricks at the time, and had been rabidly collecting gray, dark gray, brown, and tan-- 3/4 of which changed in 2004.

    Even today, my old gray outnumbers my new gray, although my new dark gray and new brown probably exceed my older colors.

    What made it REALLY difficult (and still, to this day is the bane of my LEGO collecting) is the sorting. It's REALLY hard to tell the difference at a glance between the colors-- particularly if you have incandescent lighting. So sorting takes forever. Plus, your sorting scheme may need to be changed if you want to make sure that your creations don't mix old-and-new colors.

    In short, they made the hobby a lot more difficult for us, and did so without warning or any real consideration for AFOLs. And seemingly did it with very little benefit for the company (since it probably didn't increase sales, but cost them a lot to switch). ... And there was no good solution. It just meant that from that moment on, life would be difficult for AFOLs that had a significant investment in LEGO (unless they didn't mind mixing colors, or were set collectors that kept sets separate).

    It was huge.

    Many people overreacted. They wanted to protest LEGO-- they said they'd never buy any new sets ever again. There were some that wanted to sit outside their local toy stores (literally protesting!) and telling toy store customers how LEGO had just destroyed the toy. It was crazy.

    Personally, I hated the change, although I preferred the new colors. If I could snap my fingers and *poof* change all my old colors into new colors, I'd do it. But instead, I just have to deal with it.

    But for anyone that started collecting in (say) 2005 or later, you probably barely noticed. You might find a stray old brick here or there, but everything you buy is in the new colors, and it's not really a big deal. And that was part of the reason that LEGO did it to start with. They figured that in the long run, the colors would be better, and that in 10 years, who would realize there was ever a change? And for the most part, that's probably correct. But those of us that were big-time fans in 2003 and before will probably always be affected.

    DaveE
    Legoboycaperberryleemcg
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,861
    davee123 said:

    Aanchir said:

    LEGO uses the same plastic supplier for all their production facilities other than the one they lease in China.

    Yep, although I was once told that the supply company in China is the same company, just with a different ABS source.
    Hmm, interesting.
    davee123 said:

    Aanchir said:

    As I understand it, what they diversified were the suppliers for colored dye.

    Ok, that makes more sense to me than the multi-suppliers for plastics. Do you know when that switch was made? Or anything about how the different dye sources are used?
    I don't know which facilities use which dyes or when they started using multiple suppliers. I only know this from a post @Nabii made one time when describing why yellow had become so inconsistent (one provider's yellow had become slightly more greenish, and another's had become slightly more orangish, although both were still within the tolerance levels of the target color that LEGO demands). He explained that the reasons for the multiple providers were in case one has a fire or disaster, so LEGO doesn't have to shut down production: they can just order more from their other provider and have it shipped where they need it. Presumably LEGO keeps enough colorless granulate on reserve that they don't have to do the same thing with their plastics.
    davee123 said:

    Aanchir said:

    Some official sources I've read say this was connected with the effort to eventually reduce their sprawling color palette; others treat the two events as unrelated but more or less concurrent.

    Yeah, my impression was that the group that was tasked with looking at the color palette had an initial goal of reducing the color palette, but that in the process, they decided to also look at replacing other colors, so there was some overlap in the tasks.
    Yeah, that's my interpretation as well.
    davee123 said:

    Aanchir said:

    I personally prefer the new grays and brown in almost all cases. They just seem less dingy to me, and I expect that's why the kids TLG tested the new colors with preferred them as well.

    I find that the older grays (being slightly more yellow/brown) looked a bit worn, rusted, or dirty. And since the yellowing of elements pushes them further in that direction, it makes it all the more pronounced. The newer grays (being bluer) look newer and more almost more metallic.

    Hence, where I want to make things like rock faces or broken-down, rusty vehicles, the older colors work better. And where I want shiny new stuff, the newer colors look better.

    But what's key there (IMHO) is that LEGO models, or even individual elements simply look crisper, newer, and less dingy when made with the newer colors. So a parent looking at older colors is more likely to think the pieces are older, because they're less vibrant. So it gives the product a better feel to have the newer colors.
    Yeah. The specific reason I've heard was that it was to make the LEGO color palette more consistent and harmonious, which seems to fit with your theory: back then, new blue, red, and yellow bricks would have felt brand-new, while brown and gray bricks would have felt a little dingier. The same thing applies, to a lesser extent, with some of the other colors that were changed. They just didn't have that bright, iconic look people expected in a new LEGO toy (this is part of why the pastels of Paradisa end up making the sets seem faded or washed-out rather than pretty and girly... which was not helped by the much more vibrantly-colored backgrounds that were used on the packaging).
    davee123 said:

    Overall, it's such a minor change that I doubt it makes much of a difference to the kids buying LEGO (but a huge difference for many AFOLs!)-- IE, I still think it was a bad decision to change the colors at all-- But the change itself was probably for the better.

    DaveE

    Very true. Part of the reason I was OK with the change is probably that I wasn't an AFOL at the time. I had a sizable collection of gray parts, of course, but I preferred the new colors, had not spent more than a decade collecting the parts I already had, and was too young to understand the cost of LEGO, I just sort of trusted that I'd eventually accumulate enough parts in the new grays to replace my old ones. It also probably helps that my old gray parts were often ones that WOULD get replaced eventually... for some AFOLs, certain classic parts like hinges that they had in gray or brown had already been discontinued by the time the change occurred, so they'd never be able to truly replace the older colors in their building.
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