on June 1, you’ll probably notice something unusual about the instruction manuals: for many products, the paper is now a blanket white, while the cover depicts a plain render of the set, letterboxed by a simple border decorated with a faint brick design. It’s a stripped-back approach to presenting sets that sits in stark contrast to current instruction manuals, which have typically mirrored a given product’s box
Group’s sustainability initiatives, including replacing plastic bags in boxes with paper bags. But the explanation makes it sound like it hasn’t been driven by that goal directly: instead, the change has simply been made to keep things ‘visually consistent’ with the new paper bags.
Group is on a journey to make its packaging more sustainable by 2025,” the statement reads. “As we are gradually replacing single-use plastic bags with paper-based bags in our boxes, other in-box materials such as the cover of building instructions have also been redesigned for a visually consistent unboxing experience.”
We’re yet to see the long-awaited paper bags in wide release sets, but they originally debuted in the employee-exclusive 4002021 The Temple of Celebrations at the end of last year. A first look at those bags revealed that they’re white, with the same faint brick pattern that we’re now seeing on instruction manuals. Technically, then, the new design is indeed visually consistent. What’s less consistent is the
Earlier this week, the company shared via Twitter that the ‘simpler look’ is intended to give ‘more focus on the model about to be built’, which is an entirely different reason to the one shared here. That same tweet also conflated the change with the
Group’s environmental efforts, mentioning that ‘some booklets will also come in an envelope’ (presumably referring to those that previously came in their own plastic bag, rather than every booklet getting its own envelope – that would be a lot of trees).
What neither of those statements does is directly mention the fact that using white paper for the instruction manuals will presumably mean using less ink, which is surely better for the environment, and an easy win for the
Group is – as one Twitter user succinctly summarised – ‘cheaping out’. Aligning the design between booklets and bags probably isn’t a strong enough reason to change that reaction, but let us know what you think of the new instruction manual approach in the comments below.
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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.