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AFOL Designer Program by LEGO & BrickLink

by admin on September 19, 2018

in Community News

A few days ago, BrickLink, the online LEGO marketplace, announced that they are teaming up with the LEGO Group for a new venture called the AFOL (Adult-Fans-Of-LEGO) Designer Program. Through this program, LEGO fans can submit their own designs, and chosen models will be produced as limited-edition sets to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the LEGO brick. See details below. 🙂

WHAT IS THE AFOL DESIGNER PROGRAM? – BrickLink and the LEGO Group are celebrating 60 years of the LEGO brick with the AFOL community by realizing unique designs with truly original themes. Through this program, your design can become a limited-edition 60 Years Anniversary set!

HOW DOES THE AFOL DESIGNER PROGRAM WORK? – The program will have three main phases. The 1st phase is accepting entries. To give LEGO fans some time to think about what they would like to submit, BrickLink will accept entries until November 18th. The LEGO design team will review submissions and up to 20 finalists will be selected. The 2nd phase of the process is crowdfunding, which will begin in February 2019. During this phase, the selected designs will be announced, displayed, and made available for pre-order. During the 3rd phase of the program, successfully crowdfunded designs will become a limited edition 60 Years Anniversary set exclusively available through BrickLink. Orders will begin shipping in April of 2019.

WHY SHOULD I SUBMIT MY DESIGNS? – Besides being able to share your design with the AFOL community, your model will also be reviewed and potentially produced as a limited-edition set without design modification. On top of that, BrickLink will pay 10% of total sales revenue to designers for all successfully crowdfunded designs, including pre-orders. You will retain full IP rights for non-selected designs, meaning you can freely use your original designs for any other purpose after the event. Even if you aren’t planning to submit your own design, but you would like to make some suggestions for designers to build, you can share your ideas in the Studio 2.0 forum.

READY TO GET STARTED? – The AFOL Designer Program requires that your designs are built with Studio 2.0 (BrickLink’s own digital designer similar to LEGO Digital Designer), which has improved functionality and new features for this program. A building palette made specifically for the AFOL Designer Program is included so that you are able to focus more on the design itself rather than worrying about parts being available. You can even check the stability of your design with the new stability tool to make sure it is ready for production. You can also export breathtaking images and even create building instructions for your designs. For more information about Studio 2.0, and for FAQs about the AFOL Designer Program, you can visit the AFOL Designer Program page.

If you do plan to participate in this interesting new venture, I highly recommend that you read through the FAQs page carefully, as it contains a lot more details than the main announcement. For example, the BrickLink team makes it very clear that only submissions in Studio 2.0 will be accepted. Other file formats, such as LEGO Digital Designer and LDraw, may be opened in Studio 2.0 and then saved in the appropriate format. Also, it is interesting to note that submitted models will be hidden before the crowdfunding phase begins. As far as what to build, there are no prescribed topics or themes, and the BrickLink team is looking for as much variety as possible. In fact, special consideration will be given to unique designs with truly original themes. Each design will be rated according to originality, visual appeal, building experience, use of parts, and several other factors. Since this program is part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the LEGO brick, a celebrated LEGO designer with unique expertise and a historical understanding of the LEGO system will supervise the evaluation process.

As you can see, the AFOL Designer Program is somewhat similar to LEGO Ideas, although there are some significant differences as well. On LEGO Ideas, the process is to first get public votes for projects, then the LEGO Ideas team selects some of the projects that achieved 10k votes, then they become available as official LEGO sets. With the AFOL Designer Program, first, LEGO makes a selection from the submissions, which then go up for presale through the crowdfunding phase, then the sets get produced. Also, the AFOL Designer Program is directly related to the 60-year anniversary of the LEGO brick. As such, it will only run for a limited time (although if this venture is successful, there may be similar events in the future). Moreover, sets from the AFOL Designer Program are not official LEGO products, and will not share similar levels of distribution. Moreover, they will not be redesigned by LEGO’s own design team but will be produced as is (with perhaps some minor tweaks if absolutely necessary). It’s also worth noting that projects that were previously submitted to LEGO Ideas cannot be resubmitted to the AFOL Designer Program.

There are some other miscellaneous rules that are interesting. These special, limited-edition sets will only be sold by Studio Shop, a store owned and operated by BrickLink itself in Southern California. There is a limit of 3 copies per design per customer, regardless of whether the copies are purchased during the crowdfunding stage or the general sales period. For winning models, designers must give the LEGO Group exclusive use of the rights for the duration of the program plus up to 3 years. After that point, all restrictions will be lifted and the design rights will be restored to the original designer. For designs that are not chosen, rights will remain with the original designer. You must be at least 18 years old to submit a project to the AFOL Designer Program.

The LEGO Group has started the AFOL Designer Program to celebrate AFOL creativity. Part of the program involves collaborating with others to realize more AFOL designs in small quantities. A key priority is that the AFOL Designer Program will promote initiatives of interest to AFOLs. Therefore, the AFOL Designer Program is currently being tested. Depending on the outcome, the program may be more broadly implemented in the future. As you can see, this is a very unique and interesting initiative. Even if you are not planning to submit your own projects to the AFOL Designer Program, it is a good idea to keep an eye on it to see how it develops. And, if you do have some projects in mind, it is time to begin planning and designing!

What do you think? How do you like the idea of the AFOL Designer Program? Do you think it will be successful? Are you planning to submit your own projects? Do you have any questions, comments, etc. about the program? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

jabber-baby-wocky September 19, 2018 at 12:33 PM

Wow. What? This sounds cool! Never used Studio before, is it easy to learn?

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sammy September 19, 2018 at 1:47 PM

If you used LDD it’s not that hard, but you do have to spend some time to learn it. If you are comfortable with LDD, you can just design it there, and then transfer it over to Studio. Make sure everything looks good because there are sometimes glitches that happen during transfer.

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admin September 19, 2018 at 9:50 PM

As Sammy said, if you are familiar with LDD, it shouldn’t take that long to learn Stud.io, and you can always just convert an LDD file.

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Martin September 19, 2018 at 12:58 PM

This is an interesting collaboration. Looking forward to see what comes out of it.

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TomTom September 19, 2018 at 1:13 PM

How is Lego involved with this exactly? Why doesn’t bricklink select the model? They are hosting the contest, they are doing the fundraising, Studio is their own software, so why not select the winners themselves?

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admin September 19, 2018 at 9:51 PM

LEGO is supplying the parts to BrickLink for the sets, so that’s another way they are involved besides just helping to select the winning models. This is why there is a specific selection of parts contestants can use for their models. 🙂

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Giza September 19, 2018 at 1:18 PM

This could be a good idea for rejected Ideas projects with good support. I hope they do more like this.

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brickmaster September 19, 2018 at 4:36 PM

It says in the TOS that projects that were submitted to Ideas can’t be resubmitted into this contest. Too bad, as I think it would have been a good idea.

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admin September 19, 2018 at 9:52 PM

That is correct. And yeah, it would have been nice if some of the popular but rejected models from Ideas could be entered here. I don’t see why not, but I didn’t make up the rules. 😉

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Joseph D. September 19, 2018 at 6:35 PM

One month is not a long time to design something, especially if you never used studio before. I think they should give a couple of months for people to enter. Interesting collaboration though. I thought Lego considers Bricklink a competition.

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admin September 19, 2018 at 9:54 PM

This is the first time they are doing this, so they will probably pay attention to what works, what doesn’t. If they don’t get enough entries by the deadline, or too many people have trouble using Stud.io, I’m sure they will make adjustments. But let’s see… 🙂

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Håkan September 20, 2018 at 3:50 PM

I don’t think Lego would consider BrickLink more of a competition than general second hand sales at thrift stores and such. They’re still in charge of the production and toy store distribution, where the real money lies.

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admin September 20, 2018 at 10:09 PM

There has been some clashes between BrickLink and LEGO through the years. Interestingly, LEGO now has much bigger problems with fake LEGO sets via Lepin than any problems resellers had caused. Things changed so much even just the last couple of years!

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