As you may remember from our previous discussions, the LEGO Group and BrickLink.com is currently running a joint venture called the AFOL (ADULT-FANS-OF-LEGO) Designer Program. LEGO fans could submit their own custom designed models (there were over 400 entries!), judges selected what they felt were the best models for the program, which you can now pre-order. Models that reach their funding goal will be produced, and shipped to those who pre-ordered them. (You can learn more about the program via the links at the end of this post.) 🙂
Today, I wanted to share with you a couple of interesting interviews that give some more insights into this very innovative and one-of-a-kind program. In the first interview, Joshua Hanlon from Beyond the Brick gets a behind-the-scenes look as the AFOL Designer Program team meets up in Denmark for an intense week of building and quality testing to select sixteen finalists. Joshua interviews Head of AFOL Engagement at LEGO Tormod Askildsen, BrickLink Catalog Manager Russell Callender, and LEGO Design Lead Jamie Berard (I particularly appreciate Jamie’s insights in regards to why this venture is so unique).
Submissions to the AFOL Designer Program had to use parts from a predetermined selection of currently produced LEGO elements, and they had to be designed and submitted via Stud.io, BrickLink’s own digital designer program. This uniformity assured that the projects can be easily reviewed and compared, and also that they could actually be produced. But the projects still had to be built with physical LEGO bricks to make sure that they would work as LEGO sets. The video below discussed how the selection process went, and you can also see the selected projects built in real life (video duration: 4 minutes, 36 seconds).
In the second video, Joshua talks with Russell in much more detail about how the AFOL Designer Program came about and how it works (video duration: 27 minutes, 2 seconds).
LEGO has been doing some very innovative collaborations with the adult fan community. The LEGO Ambassador Program, the LEGO Certified Professional program, LEGO Ideas, the LEGO FORMA Kickstarter project, the AFOL Designer Program, the LEGO Inside Tour, various events and opportunities at the LEGO House, etc. are all a testament to how much the company appreciates and likes to work together with their fans.
If you haven’t done so already, I would recommend you visit the AFOL Designer Program website (just click on the link) to check out all the currently available models. From the sixteen models, ten are already fully funded which means that they will definitely get produced, while the remaining six are still gathering support. There is still plenty of time for all the projects to be 100% funded, and I expect that all of them will do very well. If you like some of the projects but you are not yet ready to pre-order, you can click the bookmark icon next to each project (looks like a little flag), and BrickLink will send you a reminder before the pre-order phase closes.
What do you think? How do you like the AFOL Designer Program projects? Are you planning to support and pre-order any of them? And how did you like the interviews? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below! 😉
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