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 26 rejected LEGO Ideas projects are being 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. Several builders have since withdrawn from the program, leaving 26 models still in the running. Not all of those will become official sets, however, as they 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?

A total of 26 different designs are currently slated to enter the crowdfunding stage, though whether they make it will ultimately depend on whether they pass the LEGO Group’s stringent safety and quality requirements in the testing phase. The first crowdfunding round includes seven sets, all of which are marked as ‘production ready’.

When will the BrickLink Designer Program sets go on sale?

The first round of crowdfunding for the sets that pass the BrickLink Designer Program’s pre-production phase starts on July 1, 2021 at 4pm UK time and runs until August 11. The second and third rounds of crowdfunding will then begin on September 1 and November 1 respectively. 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.

Where can I pre-order the BrickLink Designer Program sets?

All the BrickLink Designer Program sets will be available to pre-order directly through LEGO.com, which means you’ll be able to use the official online store’s usual payment methods. You can also log into your VIP account to earn and spend VIP points on BDP sets.

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 15 to reach their goal will go into production – five from each crowdfunding round – 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 five projects to reach 3,000 backers from each crowdfunding phase will enter production.

How much will the BrickLink Designer Program sets cost?

Prices of the BrickLink Designer Program sets will be announced when each crowdfunding stage begins. The first round’s sets offer a much more agreeable price-per-piece ratio than the models from 2019’s AFOL Designer Program, suggesting the LEGO Group’s involvement has helped to keep things at a more manageable level. You can see the prices for the first round of sets by clicking here.

How many BrickLink Designer Program sets can I back?

There’s no restriction on the number of different 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. You can only pre-order a maximum of five copies of a single set, though.

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 15 taken through to production, your pre-order will be cancelled and you won’t be charged.

BrickLink Designer Program explained round 1

When will the BrickLink Designer Program sets be shipped?

The first five successful BrickLink Designer Program projects will go into production in September 2021, with the LEGO Group targeting a delivery date of December 2021 to January 2022 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 will be completely free across all sets produced through the BrickLink Designer Program, so you won’t have to pay a penny on top of the price of the sets. Customs charges may still come into play depending on where you’re based, however.

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.

BrickLink Designer Program First Round of Crowdfunding featured

Where will the pieces for the BrickLink Designer Program sets come from?

Rather than pulling from store inventories on BrickLink, all elements required for the BrickLink Designer Program’s sets will come directly from the LEGO Group, suggesting they’ll all be brand new pieces.

Will the BrickLink Designer Program sets include printed instructions?

Nope – building instructions for the BrickLink Designer Program sets will only be available in digital form, and only to owners of the sets. BrickLink and the LEGO Group say they’re currently ‘working hard to deliver the most enjoyable and interactive building experience on your mobile devices’.

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.

Can you earn VIP points on BrickLink Designer Program sets?

Yes! Because pre-orders will take place through LEGO.com, you’ll be able to earn VIP points on all orders. You can also spend your current haul of VIP points on them using rewards vouchers in the usual way.

Will BrickLink Designer Program sets count towards gifts-with-purchase?

While you can earn VIP points by pre-ordering BrickLink Designer Program sets, they won’t currently count towards gifts-with-purchase at LEGO.com.

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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.

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