I was looking through the January 2018 LEGO catalog, and paused for quite some time on the pages with the new LEGO Friends sets. I’m a big fan of LEGO Friends, and I felt that the direction LEGO has been going with the theme has been pretty solid since it was first introduced in 2012. We have gotten many sweet small sets, fun medium size sets, and impressive large sets, as well as several lovely sub-themes centered around school, sports, hobbies, pets, camping, shopping, and more. But there was something seriously bothering me about this year’s sets, and it took me a while to figure out what that was…
We have already talked about LEGO changing the look of the main characters this year (see: Response from LEGO About 2018 LEGO Friends), but while I believe LEGO could have done better going about the changes, I still think that the girls are very cute. So, that’s not what was bothering me about the new sets.
There is no coherent sub-theme for the January 2018 sets, but that’s pretty normal also. Sometimes LEGO releases sub-themes for LEGO Friends, like the LEGO Friends Jungle sets from 2014, the LEGO Friends Pop Star sets from 2015, the LEGO Friends Amusement Park sets from 2016, and the LEGO Friends Snow Resort sets in 2017. The rest of the LEGO Friends releases were always random, including all types of sets to match a wide variety of activities and interests.
The 2018 LEGO Friends collection include small sets like #41327 LEGO Friends Mia’s Bedroom, #41328 LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Bedroom, #41329 LEGO Friends Olivia’s Deluxe Bedroom, and #41330 LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Soccer Practice. The medium size sets include #41332 LEGO Friends Emma’s Art Stand, #41333 LEGO Friend’s Olivia’s Mission Vehicle, #41334 LEGO Friends Andrea’s Park Performance, and #41335 LEGO Friend’s Mia’s Tree House. There are also four larger sets; #41336 LEGO Friends Emma’s Art Cafe, #41338 LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Sports Arena, #41339 LEGO Friends Mia’s Camper Van, and #41340 LEGO Friends Friendship House. I don’t see anything particularly wrong with their structures and features, however what really bothers me is the colors, or more specifically; the combination of so many clashing colors.
LEGO Friends was always on the colorful side. The theme even introduced six new colors to the LEGO color-palette; medium-lavender, lavender, yellowish-green, dark-azure, medium-azure, and aqua. There are also other colors that are commonly used in LEGO Friends sets, including white, tan, light-pink, dark-pink, light-orange, dark-orange, dark-purple, and lime-green. However, at least so far, LEGO designers matched the colors tastefully. Unfortunately, this year the colors are badly clashing.
Amongst the three small bedrooms (pictured above) Olivia’s looks the most reasonable. The soft white, light-yellow, and light-gray goes pretty well with the dark-azure and dark-pink accent colors. The same five colors are used for Olivia’s Mission Vehicle. Again, not too bad.
The colors used for Stephanie’s bedroom are white, yellow, light-pink, dark-pink, medium-azure, dark-blue, and lime-green. That’s seven colors, and it’s starting to push the limit of what looks tasteful. The combination is not too outrageous in the two smaller sets (#41328 LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Bedroom, #41330 LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Soccer Practice), but it does go over the top in the #41338 LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Sports Arena where other colors are added as well.
Emma doesn’t get a bedroom this time around, but she does get an art stand and an art cafe. The main colors are lavender, dark-purple, white, dark-pink, and aqua. The purples may be a bit overbearing, but other than that, the five colors come together fairly well.
Andrea only gets one set in this wave, the #41334 LEGO Friend’s Andrea’s Park Performance. The five main colors are tan, brown, light-orange, dark-pink, and lime-green, which is kind of a weird combo already, and then LEGO also threw in some, red, aqua, teal, sand-green, yellowish-green, and more. Clashing colors everywhere…
Then comes Mia… oh, dear… poor girl! Her bedroom, tree house, and camper van use… let’s see if I can count them all… white, orange, lavender, dark-purple, dark-azure, lime-green, and brown – that’s seven main colors! Plus, some others thrown in for extra psychedelic effect. Just to compare, I have included a couple of pictures of previous camper vans and tree houses from the LEGO Friends line that were colored much more tastefully.
Also, this may be just a coincidence, but I find it curious that last year Mega Construx released a very similarly colored set to Mia’s tree house in their American Girl line (see below). Speaking of Mega Construx, they have some beautifully colored sets under their American Girl line, like the lovely aqua colored family house and camper pictured below.
I left the worst of the 2018 LEGO Friends sets when it comes to clashing colors for last; the #41340 LEGO Friends Friendship House. According to the official description, the girls have taken over an old fire station in Heartlake City and turned it into their headquarters. As part of vandalizing the old fire station, the teenagers got out their paints, but instead of covering the building with graffiti, they unleashed their strange color taste to repaint parts of it. The remnants of the original building are a sensible white, tan, nougat, and light-gray, and the girls added dark-purple, dark-pink, medium-azure, light-orange, lime-green, and more. I’m not even going to bother counting how many clashing colors that is. And to really make their point, the girls also added a rainbow colored heart sticker… sigh… teenage girls are more terrifying than I thought. Below are some large LEGO Friends buildings with some nice color-combinations that actually worked.
With a bit of modification, previously released LEGO Friends sets could fit in LEGO City and LEGO Creator settings, but the 2018 LEGO Friends sets are too far off for my taste. This is disappointing, because I like the designs themselves. The #41333 LEGO Friends Olivia’s Mission Vehicle is basically a LEGO Friends version of the Ghostbusters Ecto-1, the #41339 LEGO Friends Mia’s Camper Van is one of the most impressive LEGO campers I have seen (minus the colors), and the #41335 LEGO Friend’s Mia’s Tree House could have turned out much better as well. I also like the idea of the girls taking over an old fire station, but unfortunately, the execution didn’t work out too well. Fortunately, you can just take apart the sets and build something beautiful like this scene by LEGO fan Cara, titled Best Friends on Vacation. Now, this is how LEGO Friends colors should be coordinated!
With so many beautiful choices in their color-palette, I hope that LEGO designers will go back to something more sensible in the next wave of LEGO Friends sets. From this wave, I only plan to get the #41333 LEGO Friends Olivia’s Mission Vehicle. It’s small, fun, the colors are not too bad, and it includes the new version of Olivia. If you do want to check out the full selection of new and previously released LEGO Friends sets, visit the LEGO Friends section of the Online LEGO Shop.
What do you think? How do you like the 2018 LEGO Friends sets? And what do you think of the color-combinations? Feel free to share your thoughts and own opinions in the comment section below! 😉
And you might also like to check out the following related posts:
I think the camper would look MUCH better if they would just take the lavender out of it. The white, lime, blue and orange looks fine together, and similar to colorfully painted campers I have seen. The tree house.. well, I can’t help that one. Very messy. That Mega house looks very nice. Especially the windows. It reminds me of Fabuland!
From the theme’s inception, a lot of Friends sets have had clashing color combinations. It’s not a new development. I guess color palette construction is just another difference between males and females.
Friends was colorful before, but the colors weren’t clashing so badly. Look at the examples above. They are bright sets, but nicely colored.
We are so disappointed with all the new Lego Friends sets for 2018. We were at the Legoland Discovery Center in Kansas City last week and it was the first time we saw the boxes for the new sets. My 8 year old daughter nearly cried over all the new changes. Olivia was always her favorite character and she said it’s like she died. We have almost every Lego Friends set since they were first produced and love creating and changing up our Heartlake City. But these new sets just have no place in Heartlake City in our opinion. And you are correct that the new colors clash terribly, especially for Mia’s sets. It’s just sad and disappointing. Love your blog! Thanks for all you do!
Well, that’s just really sad to read. Is lego listening?
Jennifer, I have shared your comment and concerns on the LEGO Ambassador Forum. You are not the only one raising these issues. LEGO takes feedback seriously, so hopefully the next wave of LEGO Friends sets will be better. As far as Olivia, unfortunately I doubt they will go back to her original version, but now you can say that you have the genuine character. I bet she will be a collector’s item down the line. 😉
Thank you so much! 😊
You’re very welcome. Other people are reporting similar feedback, and there is strength in numbers. 😉
I think I’m having a 70’s flash back. Wow! So disappointed , are theses the evil twins in the friends universe? It looks like Lego is going to take another hit and the year has just started. Let’s call this a “Lego color malfunction .” Lol!
“Lego color malfunction”. Is that like a bad hair day? 🙄
I meant to say” a color scheme malfunction “.
I think it’s great that lego friends is giving us so many new and useful colors, but they need some lessons in color matching. I can’t imagine little girls asking for these psychedelic combinations. I agree that the sets should be cheerful and colorful, but these sets are something else. I would have never guesses that the friendship house was a fire station. No resemblance at all. The colors are way off.
Yes, LEGO Friends introduced some nice colors, but maybe they could use them less enthusiastically. 😀
Olivia’s sets look nice, but why did they change her so drastically? Looks like Mia’s sets gotten the Scooby-Doo treatment! Lol!
LEGO did respond to questions about the changes to Olivia. I have posted it here: http://thebrickblogger.com/2017/12/response-from-lego-about-2018-lego-friends/
LOL! There was someone else who mentioned the Scooby-Doo resemblance at our Facebook page. I didn’t even think about it until you guys mentioned! 😀
I’m tempted to get the mission vehicle. It looks fun. But I agree with others that most of the other sets have weird colors. There was so much potential with that fire station. Like David said, I would have never guessed that’s what it was.
Yeah, that’s the set I’m planning to get too. It’s like a friendly version of the Ecto-1! 😀
I’ve always thought that Friends sets have too many vibrant colors, and so the 2018 selection initially looked no different to me. I have little knowledge in the ways of color coordination, though, and so I can’t comment very much on whether the colors are clashing or not. 😕 I do think Mia’s Camper Van could’ve done without the Lavender (though then it matches the Mystery Machine…), and I do agree that the Treehouse is a mess of color. However, I think it is unfair to include Bright Yellowish Green (lime-green) in the list of colors in Andrea’s set: that color is the ground throughout Heartlake City, and doesn’t change. You have to examine the structure’s and ground’s colors separately. In a similar way, the aqua, teal, sand-green, and yellowish-green don’t count in that set because they’re only on clothes (and an accessory), which aren’t part of the set’s structures. I guess the designers could have picked better attire (unless they were matching the show), but it still doesn’t matter relative to the colors of the buildings, in my opinion.
Also, I note that Friends did not introduce yellowish-green (that’s Spring Yellowish Green, right?), Dark Azure, or Aqua. The first made its proper introduction in 2014 with TLM, Dark Azure first came in Alien Conquest and SpongeBob in 2011, and Aqua was introduced in 2011 by the Cars theme. Duplo also technically started Lavender, which wasn’t in Friends until 2013, but Friends did introduce the color to System sets.
Good points. I have considered not including clothing colors and ground colors, however looking at other sets from other themes, it’s clear that LEGO is much better at matching all the colors included in theme, including vegetation, clothing, accessories, etc. As far as the six colors introduced by LEGO Friends, I’m aware that some of them were included in other sets even earlier, but for whatever reason LEGO does consider them colors tied to LEGO Friends. This is a quote from the original press-release published in 2011: “LEGO Friends also introduces six new LEGO colors—including Easter-egg-like shades of azure and lavender.” You can read the original press-release here: http://thebrickblogger.com/2011/12/lego-friends-bloomberg/
Hm… I suppose LEGO does have better color matching in other themes, particularly City and Ninjago. Then this year’s Friends sets are an odd case…. 😕
Thanks for that link; I don’t know much about the history of Friends, so that was an interesting read. However, I feel like the press release lied just to make Friends sound more epic. Notice it only mentions the Azures and Lavenders, which Friends mostly started. Dark Azure might be counted, except it only started appearing in Friends in 2013. Aqua could count as well, since Friends introduced a few parts in that color in 2012, but that’s a stretch. Spring Yellowish Green, however, was not one of the six colors: it didn’t appear in a Friends set until 2015, well after TLM had already claimed the color. The only other colors (besides Med. Azur and the Lavenders) introduced in 2012 were Olive Green and White Glow, neither of which appeared in Friends for some time. Wherever Bloomberg got its info (even if it was from LEGO), it wasn’t accurate. Anyways, it’s not very important; it just irked me somewhat. 🙂
Yes, I also thought the press-release was a little odd when it mentioned some of the colors that were already in other sets. My guess is that this has to do more with internal logistics than lying in their own press-release or being inaccurate. By LEGO designating a color to a particular theme means that the theme is going to carry that color into the future, even if it is no longer used in other themes. This of course doesn’t mean that the color can’t be used in sets belonging to other themes, but the color being tied to a theme assures that a good number of pieces will always be produced in that color (as long as it remains tied to at least one theme as a main color). 🙂
It’s funny , they say that imagination has no limit, but, I guess with certain colored bricks their is. Or maybe we put that limit on our selfs . Just like in the Lego movie. On the other hand , sometimes people are so use to things a certain way that when it changes its harder to except. ( I know it was talked about a couple of articles ago but, it’s the same where as Lego seems to change things . When things should be left alone.) as the saying goes ” if ain’t broke, then why fix it.”
Yeah, that’s a good way to put it. It would actually be curious to do a poll to see what color combinations people like in LEGO sets, and maybe even do a separate one for kids and adults. I’m good with color as I have training as an artist, but then other people might experience colors differently. Still, most artwork that is accepted as beautiful by most people follow some basic rules of symmetry, color, shading, shaping, etc.
Well my 11 year old daughter just hates you all!! She loves the new sets and wants them all. The Friendship House used several ideas that she had included in her contest submission and since it’s kind of the base for the new stuff we got that first. I built the new camper myself and we’re still trying to figure out who is going to get custody of the mission vehicle.
The pops of color in the new sets match the personalities of the mini dolls.
He-he… 11-year-olds are just about the age when they start to hate things and develop strong opinions in general. I’m really glad to hear that your daughter likes the sets, and she is sticking with what she likes even if others have different opinions. Go, girl, enjoy your Friends! 😀
Tweeniez gonna tween!
I’m an artist myself ( didn’t have any training ) I just like to draw. In fact ,a lot of people say I should draw for children’s books . I also tell great stories. I guess that’s because of my imagination . As for me writing a story , my learning disability holds me back a little bit. Like the saying goes ” a picture is worth a thousand words” . I did a lot of pictures.
When I was a kid, my favorite books were the ones where there was a nice picture on each page accompanying the story. Not as densely drawn as comic books, but more like the Ninjago books that has been expanding on the story. Kids are curious and also very forgiving. If your story and drawings activate their imagination, they are happy. I would say, go for it. You can practice on kids locally to see how they like your stories and artwork (they give very honest feedback), or even online. That’s the thing with writing and drawing… you just have to put the pen or pencil to paper. The rest happens like magic. 🙂
Children’s books seem to be a very tough, competitive market, actually. But there’s always DeviantArt and other communities online…
You can also publish your own books via Amazon and other outlets. No need to go the traditional way. And yes, anything related to kids (books, toys, clothing, etc.) are very competitive markets. Gotta get them early to hook them for life! 🙄
But, despite all the color clashing… Where’s the teal?…
Teal is in the Disney sets and the Elves sets. And Andrea’s outfit. 😉
Quite unfriendly of Heartlake City, I think… Needs more teal!
Another color added to the Friends kaleidoscope may make Heartlake City blow up. 🙄
My Daughter was excited she thought final a new Scooby doo Lego set, until she realized it was Lego Friends. Why are they stealing the Scooby doo style and giving it to the Lego friends instead… She was excited at first until she realized no Scooby Doo. What a downer . The Lego Elves is a MUST they are EPIC. Lego Batman will wait for sales. Idea Fishing store is a Must. Still getting the Lego theater once back in stock, hopefully soon. Not sure about diner. MEH… DECTIVE OFFICE MAYBE..
Can Build the Brick Bank Now. We are not getting more boats one is enough and my kids love the destiny bounty… However might consider a train set in future. They do have the diplo train. That reminds me kids like more tracks…
Scooby-Doo Friends is definitely an interesting combination. We will just have to see where that goes. As far as I know, the Palace Cinema has been retired, so your best bet is to get it on the secondary market. I would do it ASAP, as the longer you wait the more expensive it is going to get. The Detective’s Office is a very fun and very good looking set. I highly recommend it. I did hear some rumors that there might be a train coming later this year. 🙂
It’s hard to copyright a style… Or color combinations…
And the camper actually has too much white, when compared to the Mystery Wagon…
Wow, that tree house is awful. The fire-station-turned-friendship-house is pretty bad too, but after all if a bunch of teenage girls got a hold of a fire station it might end up looking that way. It’s a shame they went in that direction though, it was a nice idea that could have had a lot of potential.
Personally I think what’s worse than the multitude of colors is the way they get indiscriminately mixed up sometimes in LEGO sets. White, orange, lavender, dark-purple, dark-azure, lime-green, and brown, for instance, is a bold choice of colors that don’t obviously go, but by judiciously using them for things that would make some sense in the real world, I think you could make a decent looking set. But using them almost indiscriminately – blue on the base here, on the roof there, lime on a vehicle, on a tree, as the grass, etc. – is just a little much.
That’s actually a really good point I briefly started thinking about as I was writing the post, but then I forgot to include. And I think this is the reason the earlier sets look much better. The previous versions of the tree house are excellent examples. In the earlier tree houses green was reserved for grass, vines and leaves, and blue was reserved for water. Even though the sets are colorful, they still look reasonably believable. On these latest sets, the colors are all jumbled together with no rime or reason in what they represent. 🙁
Yeah, there definitely were a few choices that needed to be made but that got overlooked… generally speaking, I find that it’s not a good idea to use the same color for something natural and something man-made in the same build – so if the camper is going to be lime green, the grass shouldn’t be! That way once the beholder identifies what a particular color is being used for it’s easy to tell what’s going on when that color is used again in a more equivocal location. But if the colors are used indiscriminately…
It’s actually a problem which does not seem to be exclusive to Friends, I find in other sets too that colors occasionally are used in visible places where they just don’t make sense.
Very well said. I actually shared your comment on the Ambassador Forum to make sure LEGO designers see it. Hopefully the next wave of Friends sets will be better. They do listen to feedback. 🙂
Oh, that’s cool! 😉 Now I will take to myself all the credit if the next wave looks nicer. 😛
Sure, take all the credit you want! 😀
I agree that they use too many colours and have felt this way about Friends for a while now. I can’t believe it is necessary in order to appeal to youngsters. My ten year old agrees with me. Some people say that it is Lego, so you can change the colours to be whatever you like, but that is not always possible within a family budget when the sets use so many different specialised pieces, and the parts packs (classic boxes) also come in loads of different colours. We will do our best however, in situations where we feel it really matters.
As for this wave of sets, only the largest one really appeals to my daughter, but that is ok because we are behind on collecting all the Elves sets, plus I have some older Friends sets in the cupboard still waiting to be given for birthday or Christmas. So a break in purchasing Friends will do us good!
Yes, the elves sets are always nice. And hopefully, Friends will improve too. Our wallet needs a break sometimes. 😉