Could LEGO be phasing out instruction manuals completely?

Changes in recent LEGO sets might be hinting at a paper-free building experience in the future, including in a Star Wars model.

For many LEGO fans, there’s nothing quite like turning to the first page of the manual and embarking on a build, whether it’s purchased with pocket money or it’s a vast creation costing hundreds of pounds. But recently, there have been indications that the days of the instruction manual may be numbered.

The new LEGO CITY Missions sets will not come with a traditional paper manual, but instead use an interactive story on a phone or tablet to guide you through construction. For younger builders, who are ‘digital natives’ this will no doubt come naturally, but to those who are used to the tactile experience of turning the pages, it might grate a little.

In the recent LEGO Star Wars 75325 The Mandalorian’s N-1 Starfighter set, the cover of the manual seemed to be an amateurish affair in comparison to the LEGO Group’s usual standards, with a render of the set on a bland background. While it may have been an early production issue that will be rectified in future, there may be some who believe that this is dragging production values down, resulting in less of an outcry if physical manuals are consigned to the past.

Starfighter Manual
Image: Brickset

And then there’s the green issue. With manuals becoming increasingly thick, as detailed builds necessitate more and more pages, the LEGO Group must be looking for ways of becoming more sustainable. We know that plastic bags will be giving way to paper over the next few years, but this might be reflected in instructions in the future too.

All of that is speculation at present, but with environmental issues becoming ever more important for businesses around the globe, it might be that future LEGO builds start, not by opening the manual, but by switching on a phone, as is already the case with LEGO Super Mario.

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23 thoughts on “Could LEGO be phasing out instruction manuals completely?

  • 22/05/2022 at 05:30
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    Hell no have not the patience to stare at my tiny phone screen all while trying to build lego charges way too much for product that costs all but nothing to manufacture least the greedy corporation can do is keep instruction manuals in paper form

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  • 15/05/2022 at 20:12
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    Most of my sets I have used the digital instructions to keep my paper manuals in presten condition.
    I was recently building the 4 X 4 mercedes truck when things got complicated and I thought my set had parts missing. I looked in the paper instructions and they were different. Digital instructions do not get updated. So no paper manuals would leave people confuzed

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  • 13/05/2022 at 02:01
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    Nope. If they go with materials that are inferior, be they in the bags that can’t protect the pieces, or getting cheap in their quality or skimping on manuals; if the quality goes, so do I. I will find another brand whos not so insane with environmental nonsense at the expense of people. And them getting what they have paid a fortune for. That, or Ill just get a 3D printer and make my own bricks to my standards. Regardless, if they go down this toad too far, I will not support such extreme tactics. The whole putting the rights of the buyer to get what they paid for last. If considering them at all. Its wrong, and I will not support any company who goes down that route too far. I’ll put my money behind the company thay shares my values instead!

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  • 12/05/2022 at 03:08
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    I have purchased many Lego sets over the last 10 years, including many of the very large expensive sets, and am a member of the VIP program. I love having the paper manuals. I have 5 kids, and I want to have these sets to hand down to them for their own kids, etc. I am not a fan at all of digital-only manuals. Maybe offer it as an option for people who may prefer it, but don’t make it the ONLY option. As someone else said in a comment, I have gotten a couple of the Mario sets (my kids love both Lego and Mario), but the digital-only manuals drove us crazy and I will not be buying any more of the sets for this reason, and this reason only. The app file size was large and cumbersome, it would often crash or not open properly, and it being digital just makes it much more transient and impermanent (when will support for that app drop off?). I cannot stress enough that I not only prefer the physical manuals, but will not buy another $400 set (I have many!) if it doesn’t come with a hard copy manual. I’m not sure what the likelihood of anyone from Lego actually seeing this comment is, but on the off chance it’s ever seen by them, I wanted to be sure to post it, as this is an important issue to me (and I never comment on anything). Please, please, please DON’T do away with the paper manuals. Whwn dropping so much money on a set, it’s not too much to ask to have a paper manual included.

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  • 12/05/2022 at 02:50
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    Big Al, you are a insensitive jerk with your comment and you are not fit to be a LEGO fan.

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  • 12/05/2022 at 01:18
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    What BS , they just want reason to go manualess then they are only ones that save money , myself i can only use manual , lego is way of getting away from Tech for a bit and enjoy the build

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  • 12/05/2022 at 00:52
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    I agree with the people who say put mole than one step on a page! Sometimes you turn a page and there’s one brick to be placed…. that’s ridiculous really THAT IS A WASTE OF PAPER THE BOOKS ÓNLY NEED TO BE HALF THE SIZE THEY ARE! PLEASE DON’T STOP PRINTING MANUALS… IF YOU DO I’LL STOP BEING A COSTUMER! THIS IS NOT A THREAT THIS IS A PROMISE!

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  • 11/05/2022 at 21:23
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    I’m old. (That’s a fact!) I’ve tried the online instructions, and my eyes are much too old and grumpy to try to see Lego instructions on a little phone screen. Even a tablet is pushing it. Go to recycled, less glossy paper if you’re about saving the environment Lego… PLEASE!

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  • 11/05/2022 at 20:45
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    Terrible idea, this is going too far! If lego stupidly eliminates manuals, I would probably stop buying as the sets are already getting too expensive ( I see this more as a cost cutting measure to increase Legos profits ). What’s next sustainable bricks that start to turn to dust in a few years or become food for pests?

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  • 11/05/2022 at 15:53
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    the comments people leave here are just obnoxious.

    Oh i cant cope without wifi cos im poor yet i just bought a 500 dollar lego set, + now everyone gets wifi for free.

    oh i will have to print it out and that will kill the environment, um no it wont because 90% of people wont print it out and you will be the one killing the trees.

    Oh this is a travesty, oh i wont buy anymore.

    Get a grip!

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  • 11/05/2022 at 15:13
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    I enjoy building Legos with my grandson, I have to use a manual. My grandson says he’s a Lego master but he builds it first, then takes it apart and rebuilds something else. Please some of us need the manuel, for the price of Legos a book should be included or sales might go down.

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  • 11/05/2022 at 12:26
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    How’s this going to work for low income families with children who don’t have smart phones? At Christmas I love donating Lego, but if there’s no instructions, and the kids don’t have Wify then what’s the point? Better idea would be to condense the steps, instead of one step with three bricks on one page, how about three or four steps on a page?

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  • 11/05/2022 at 11:38
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    Tried this with the mario and really hated it, so much that I haven’t bought any more of them. I’m do it as a job and when I do Lego I want to get away from technology no be forced to look at screen to build my models!!

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  • 11/05/2022 at 11:32
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    That is not environmental at all. All those devices people need to read instructions need power and rare earth materials, same with servers delivering the data. Then there is the whole problem with tech and age, I can read my old instructions from 30+ years ago without problems, can you say the same about the music you bought from Microsoft music store and such?

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  • 11/05/2022 at 08:45
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    Not all Lego fans have access to the kind of tech needed to read digital manuals. I’ll be returning any sets I buy that don’t have a paper manual. I’m appalled.

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  • 11/05/2022 at 05:28
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    Great news for people who don’t want to be glued to their phones all the time. ?

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  • 11/05/2022 at 01:54
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    It seems like the wrong area to try to conserve. The bags I understand as they are meant to be garbage. But this is a product that used and handed down for DECADES. It isn’t the next phone or table to be thrown away. It isn’t built to be disposable. In fact it seems to be one of the few things left that is meant to last a LONG time. There are better areas to look to improve environmental issues.

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  • 11/05/2022 at 01:07
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    If they only put the instructions on the Web, that would suck and then I’d end up printing them out, which would be even worse for the environment and more expensive in the long run than just including them!

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  • 10/05/2022 at 22:08
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    The Mario sets have already been without proper paper instructions for a couple waves now, they just have a leaflet that tells you to use the associated mobile app, although you can also get the PDF of the instructions from Lego’s website

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  • 10/05/2022 at 21:49
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    LEGO seems to be quite out of touch with what parents actually want. It was bad enough with technic sets needing a phone, but now having to hand your child a £250+ piece of technology with literally everything on it…. Parents want their kids to move away from tablets, not put it in their hands even more.

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  • 10/05/2022 at 20:19
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    Would not buy anymore

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  • 10/05/2022 at 19:43
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    I don’t use them ever. I go the website and download the pdf. I don’t have to field with turning pages or the book closing that way.

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  • 10/05/2022 at 17:29
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    I have already used a version of digital instructions, perhaps not as sophisticated as Lego explains, and I did not liked it. Maybe it is a change of headset that will require time to get use to it, but nothing will ever replace printed instructions. Years ago, it was said that printed books would disappear with the digital world coming up! …but it has never happened! Nothing will ever replace the felling of passing pages and being able to enjoy looking the graphics on printed paper.

    Reply

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