Everything you need to know about LEGO’s BrickLink Designer Program

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s iteration of the BrickLink Designer Program, which will bring rejected LEGO Ideas projects to life through the secondary marketplace.

The LEGO Group’s acquisition of BrickLink in 2019 has allowed the two companies to work far closer for the 2021 BrickLink Designer Program, the inaugural version of which relied entirely on fan-submitted designs.

This one does too, of course, but in a very different way, as 31 rejected LEGO Ideas projects will be given a second chance at becoming reality. Read on for everything you need to know about how the program will work, how you can get your hands on the sets, and just how official they’ll be…

BrickLink Designer Program Banner

What is the BrickLink Designer Program?

The BrickLink Designer Program is a pilot initiative originally devised by BrickLink, but now operates in tandem with the secondary marketplace’s new parent company, the LEGO Group. The original version in 2019 saw LEGO fans submit their own designs to the platform for crowdfunding by fellow fans, while this year’s program will involve LEGO Ideas creators turning their rejected concepts into finished designs.

How many designers are involved in the BrickLink Designer Program?

A total of 27 LEGO Ideas users accepted the LEGO Group’s invitation to join the BrickLink Designer Program, submitting 31 different designs between them. Not all of those will become official sets, however, as they’ll all need to pass a tough pre-production phase, before gathering enough support from fans in the crowdfunding phase.

How many designs will be included in the BrickLink Designer Program’s crowdfunding stage?

That depends how many designers manage to turn their concepts into a product that meets the LEGO Group’s strict safety and stability requirements. All 31 models are currently in the pre-production phase, which means they’re being refined by their individual designers to meet restrictions on the number, type and colours of elements used. Each project must fall between 400 and 4,000 bricks, and will be rigorously tested to ensure it’s safe, stable and feasible for mass production.

When will the BrickLink Designer Program sets go on sale?

Crowdfunding for the sets that pass the BrickLink Designer Program’s pre-production phase will begin on June 1, 2021 and run until August 10. If you want to get your hands on any of the models, that’s the time to back them, as you won’t be able to buy them anywhere else. However, backing a specific project doesn’t necessarily mean it will go into production.

BrickLink Designer Program Phase 2

How many sets will come out of the BrickLink Designer Program?

Regardless of how many sets progress to the BrickLink Designer Program’s crowdfunding phase, only the first 13 to reach their goal will go into production, and they’ll be limited to 5,000 copies each. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to build the rest, though: the LEGO Group has promised to make building instructions available for every model that doesn’t make it past the crowdfunding phase. You’ll just have to source the parts yourself.

How many backers does a BrickLink Designer Program project need to successfully pass the crowdfunding phase?

In order for any of the BrickLink Designer Program’s sets to progress from the crowdfunding phase to production, they’ll need to rack up a minimum of 3,000 pre-orders. Remember, that number caps out at 5,000, and only the first 13 projects to reach 3,000 backers will enter production.

How much will the BrickLink Designer Program sets cost?

At this point, it’s impossible to say how much each of the BrickLink Designer Program models will cost, but with the part count of 400 to 4,000 in mind, it’s safe to assume that we’ll at least see a range of different prices across the projects that enter the crowdfunding phase. Based on the prices attached to sets in 2019’s BrickLink Designer Program, however, you can expect them to be a touch more expensive than regular retail LEGO sets.

How many BrickLink Designer Program sets can I back?

There’s no restriction on the number of BrickLink Designer Program sets you can back (provided they haven’t already reached their maximum capacity of 5,000 backers, that is), so fill your boots.

What happens if I back a BrickLink Designer Program project that doesn’t go into production?

In a word: nothing. If you choose to back a BrickLink Designer Program project that isn’t one of the lucky 13 taken through to production, your pre-order will be cancelled and you won’t be charged.

BrickLink Designer Program Phase 1

When will the BrickLink Designer Program sets be shipped?

All 13 successful BrickLink Designer Program projects will go into production in September 2021, with the LEGO Group targeting a delivery date of November 2021 for the first batch of sets. A clearer timeline for shipping will apparently be shared when the manufacturing process gets underway. 

Where will the BrickLink Designer Program sets ship from?

The BrickLink Designer Program’s sets will be manufactured in Europe, and will therefore also ship from Europe. The LEGO Group and BrickLink are currently attempting to establish a US-based distribution centre for US customers, however, so stay tuned for more word on that when the crowdfunding phase begins.

Which countries will the BrickLink Designer Program sets ship to?

Unfortunately, not every country: only users located in the UK, US, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Belgium, Italy, France, Spain, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, Hungary, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Ireland, Slovakia, Czechia, Luxembourg, Latvia, Estonia, Greece, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand will be able to back BrickLink Designer Program projects.

How much will shipping cost for BrickLink Designer Program sets?

Shipping prices for each BrickLink Designer Program set haven’t been determined yet, but the LEGO Group says it’s ‘preparing to offer the lowest possible shipping costs to all countries we ship to’.

How are the BrickLink Designer Program’s creators compensated for their ideas?

Designers whose projects successfully enter production will receive 10% in royalties, while designers whose models are turned into digital building instructions will receive a 75% royalty fee. That’s a lot higher than LEGO Ideas’ usual royalty fee of 1%, but it’s worth remembering that these products will likely be rolled out to a much smaller audience, and the design responsibility lies entirely with the fan creator. 

Will the BrickLink Designer Program sets come in official LEGO boxes?

The LEGO Group hasn’t yet revealed whether the sets’ boxes will carry the LEGO logo and come packaged in traditional set boxes, but has promised to share more when we reach the crowdfunding stage in June. The original BrickLink Designer Program sets didn’t have official LEGO branding, but the LEGO Group’s acquisition of the marketplace may allow that to change this year.

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LEGO Ideas BrickLink Designer Program Featured 2

Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

Chris Wharfe

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