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What DON'T we know about the LEGO design process? Will we ever?

Over the years, I have seen a documentary about LEGO, seen the designer videos, and I seem to remember some videos at events where a designer such as Jamie did a talk. I remember that one photo of the LEGO design offices that was filled with not-yet-released sets such as Tower of Orthanc.

But I feel like we know so little of the actual stories behind decisions at LEGO. I would love to know why they chose one license over another, or why they decided to bring back Pirates now, or why a certain designer was given a specific set, or how the design team worked on an actual model.

Maybe this is too "insider information," and no companies (BMW, Apple, J Crew) really share such internal detail. Maybe it would be leveraged by competitors, or maybe it would make public the internal politics and staffing issues of an individual company.

I recently read the book Creativity, Inc. by Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull, and he exposed so much about not just their overall process, but the ins and outs of specific decisions of many of their movies. It was so amazing to get such an inside account.

Are their resources or stories I don't know about? Is this type of thing too "inside baseball" even for the ardent LEGO fans of Brickset?

It was just something I was thinking about. I suppose it may be cool to have a list of "what we DO know about life inside LEGO."


  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 Administrator Posts: 2,364
    edited January 2015
    I often find it fascinating wondering why particular design decisions were made. I have hypothesised in the past that LEGO might leave flaws in Star Wars sets as they know that they can rectify that flaw in a new set in a few years time. That way they can sell one set now and know that we might buy the improved set later.

    Why, for example, does the Ezra's Speeder Bike set not include the helmet for Sabine that would not require a new mould, while the TIE Advanced Prototype includes a helmet for the Inquisitor that is a new mould and only appears very briefly in the show?

    Great question though @brickupdate‌, I would be interested to hear from anyone with a little more inside knowledge.
  • TechnicNickTechnicNick Member Posts: 279
    ^ Now I know why they stuck an over-large bucket on the front of the otherwise perfect #8043 Excavator...
  • 19741974 Member Posts: 141
    I know a lot about the process, at least how it was years ago. I'm sure it's much more complicated now though

    Can't really spill the beans as such, even if I like to. My sources are ex-designers, not marketing/development/etc

    Sometime you can find info from other sources. The danish site (a site for profesional engineers) often have LEGO/TLG articles and they tend to be of very high journalistic standards


  • brickupdatebrickupdate Member Posts: 1,020
    @1974 thanks for the tip!
  • DadsAFOLDadsAFOL Member Posts: 617

    I suppose it may be cool to have a list of "what we DO know about life inside LEGO."

    1. Sugar is not allowed anywhere on the campus, except in coffee.
    2. The design center has a slide
    3. To mold a new part costs $250,000 and most designers aren't allowed to create new parts. (But new colors of existing molds is okay)
    4. They have a 3D printer and a dedicated team to prototype new parts (despite #3)
  • StuBoyStuBoy Member Posts: 623
    ^ Sugar not allowed at Lego? How and why?
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