LEGO Collectible Minifigures are created with ‘endless imagination’

In an exclusive interview, Brick Fanatics finds out how Collectible Minifigures are designed by the imaginative and creative LEGO team

During LEGO Fan Media Days 2020, LEGO Senior Design Manager Astrid Graabæk and Senior Project Manager Ina Paske sat down with Brick Fanatics to pull back the curtain and talk about what does into designing LEGO Collectible Minifigures.

With the long-running theme reaching a decade of varied and fun characters packed in little blind bags, fans have collected hundreds of costumed minifigures, sporting legends, City fillers, animated superstars and super heroes. But rarely is any insight provided about how each series come to life…

LEGO Collectible Minifigures concept sketch above By Alexandre Boudon.

How do you start the process of coming up with a Collectible Minifigures series?

Astrid: There’s a lot of creative and fun people here at LEGO, so normally we gather up a bunch of Graphic Designers, Model Designers and Element Designers and basically just brainstorm on potential new characters. I often receive ideas from designers here throughout the year, whenever they get a great idea, so kind of collect those ideas and then we meet up and further brainstorm.

LEGO Collectible Minifigures sketches
LEGO Collectible Minifigure concept sketches by Austin Carlson.

What we put into consideration is what is then the best costume, what are the strongest historical characters out of all the ideas and it’s also looking back at the previous launches so we are not copying anything or bringing in less novelty, so we try to choose characters that we believe will bring the most novelty.

Then we also very much focus one exciting new elements, so sometimes if we have a good idea for an element, that sometimes is where it starts then we design the character around the piece we think would be exciting for you guys and kids to get. It’s basically all of these ideas we filter down, but to be honest, it’s sometimes a very hard choice.

But then the ideas that don’t make it are parked and they might be used in the following year.

How many parked ideas are there?

Astrid: Do you mean the amount of potential characters we have?

Ina: I don’t think we can put a number on that. [laughs]

Astrid: I don’t think we can put a number on it.

Ina: It’s endless imagination, it’s a combination of basically everything.

LEGO Collectible Minifigures interview
LEGO Senior Design Manager Astrid Graabæk and Senior Project Manager Ina Paske.

How have the designs changed over the years? Have they been refined over the last 10 years?

Astrid: It’s more or less the same recipe from the start to now, but of course the choice of characters typically follow what we believe would appeal to kids and adults. That can potentially change over time but wacky costumes, the historical characters, the sports players… that recipe sticks but the choices, might adapt to  what kids and adults find exciting.

Like with this pirate girl, we thought that was cool that she was launched around the same time as the pirate ship, so we try and find what was going on around the rest of the company, or trends or something we see out in the world.

Ina: It’s what Astrid is describing in terms of the ideas but we of course always evaluate what are the trends in the market, what are the reviews from you guys or the insights we know from kids, it’s a balance of everything. Of course we look into and that’s because we want to be relevant. For us it’s about making kids and you guys happy, and to spark that imagination and creative play and fun and in order to do that we of course have to balance a lot of choices, both on the ideas side but also feedback.

Read more from Brick Fanatics at Fan Media Days 2020

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Graham was the 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.

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