The LEGO Group’s new 18+ packaging has properly come to the fore in 2021, and the company’s Head of Product has reflected on whether it’s working as intended.
Originally introduced with 10273 Haunted House in May 2020, the all-black packaging is designed to unify products under the ‘LEGO for Adults’ umbrella, signifying that a set has been developed specifically for adult fans first and foremost – including those that would previously have been branded Creator Expert, as well as sets across themes like Ideas, Star Wars, DC and Marvel.
We’re now a full year and a half on from that switch in branding, and LEGO for Adults Head of Product Gen Cruz says it’s a decision the company is still firmly in support of – partly because of how well the black boxes serve their intended purpose, but also because they’re not rigidly applied to every single set designed for adults.
“I think back to the voluminous amounts of research that we conducted, and I think one of the key things is the fact that it really ‘heroes’ the model for me,” Gen tells Brick Fanatics. “The beautiful thing about the packaging is it makes the model the centrepiece. And that’s what you’re buying into; that’s the experience that you want. So I think that’s what’s working for it.
“But I think we have also been very open-minded in terms of what makes sense for the product, and what is best for the holistic experience that we want to offer to the consumer. So case in point, 10282 Adidas Originals Superstar has different packaging, because that makes sense for that particular offer. So I think we’re keeping the door open in terms of what makes sense for the product and for that particular audience.”
The LEGO Group has already proved that its 18+ packaging is open to exceptions with 10291 Queer Eye – The Fab 5 Loft, which swaps the typical black background for bright white. It still uses the same single-colour backdrop with a patterned strip around the bottom, though, tying it into the wider LEGO for Adults line-up.
“Right now, the very simple guidance is, if the product is being made with adults first as an audience in mind, then it will be marked 18+, and it will come in the adult visual packaging,” Gen explains. “Again, that’s going back to the objective that we want to make it as easy as possible for adults to identify that this is a product for them, that they can navigate quite easily.”
It sounds like the 18+ packaging is here to stay for the foreseeable future, which means plenty more black boxes in 2022 (and possibly beyond). The first of those will debut on January 1 with 10297 Boutique Hotel, which follows 10278 Police Station in adopting the new ‘Modular Buildings Collection’ branding with plain black packaging.