Amy Corbett is now a household name thanks to her role as a judge on LEGO MASTERS USA, the television series taking the US by storm. For the past two years though, she has been the Design Lead on a top secret project, which she has been working on from the LEGO Group’s headquarters in Billund, Denmark.
That top secret project turned out to be LEGO DOTS, which had a huge launch in London, UK, with the HOUSE OF DOTS installation. During the event, Brick Fanatics caught up with Amy to find out how the humble 1×1 tile became the basis of an entire theme.
What was the beginning of LEGO DOTS?
We hear kids talk about being creative and how they love making and doing things. But we also hear some kids say that they don’t feel LEGO is creative, it is not a tool that they would use to be creative. As adults of course we think LEGO is so creative, so we wanted to try and create something for those kids that didn’t feel LEGO was relevant, and meet them on the level of what they were looking for as a creative concept. That key insight very early on was what we used throughout the process to shape DOTS.
How did you land on 1×1 tiles being the expression of that?
We tried out lots of different things and thinking about what creativity means for the kids. How do kids who think they can’t achieve success with LEGO achieve success quite quickly, so we can prove to them that LEGO is something that works for them? The 1×1 tile really was a great way to have this great intuitive creative experience where you don’t need a lot of guidance and instruction and you very quickly can succeed – but you can also grow and master it, and get better at it.
You must have had hundreds of ideas for the decorated tiles, how did you narrow them down?
The first thing we had to do is actually develop an identity for the decorated tiles and dots. How much detail can you put on this tiny little tile and it is still decodable and appealing? We definitely put a lot of energy into thinking about what is the right level of detail to be recognisable and interesting.
Also, figuring out what themes resonated with the most kids – we talk a lot about passion points with children, what is something that they love? They love animals, they love colours, they are really into space. We really wanted to give this diverse range of themes with the decorations so every child or adult could find something that they relate to.
We used some metallic as well to give a nice effect and some of them…
…run across multiple tiles.
That is a really great way that the team has worked to use the graphics, you can actually create patterns from the graphics and the way you use them. I am sure fans are going to use these tiles to make patterns as well, it is also something that is quite new, we haven’t really done that with LEGO so much. Even just this same tile [the space tile], it is about the orientation and repeating them you can make amazing patterns if you combine a lot of them together.
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Graham was the BrickFanatics.com Editor up until November 2020. He has plenty of experience working on LEGO related projects. He has contributed to various websites and publications on topics including niche hobbies, the toy industry and education.
Follw Graham on Twitter @grahamh100.