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AFOL Designer Program behind-the-scenes

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! 😉

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • TomTom February 25, 2019, 12:10 PM

    WOw! That fire truck is SO MUCH BIGGER than I thought. In fact, most of the MOCs look so much better build from real bricks than in the digital version.

  • Martin February 25, 2019, 12:17 PM

    I agree with TomTom, these look great better in brick. Great collaboration between AFOLs, Lego, and Bricklink. I hope they will continue in the future. I liked the videos. Great insights.

  • Legostuff14 February 25, 2019, 12:26 PM

    Wow, I have a totally new perspective on the design teams for Lego sets. The process is thorough that it just shows me a different and deeper layer of the Lego creating process. I’m thinking twice about the Lego sets and how much going in to them. I won’t be as critical on sets that are out and that are coming out in the future. However, if i don’t like a set to be fair and legit on judgment. Just don’t nitpick on it , particularly when a fan says ” i can make it better”. Than make it how you what but, don’t tear down someone’s hard work. Thank you , admin for sharing this article with us.

    • admin February 26, 2019, 1:47 PM

      Yeah, I thought that was interesting when Jamie mentioned that the final sets often don’t look as good as the original concepts. There is so many logistics to consider when releasing sets! You might also enjoy the full version of the interview with Jamie. It is very good: https://youtu.be/YvCHIDG_6Q4

  • DavidH February 25, 2019, 12:49 PM

    I really like Jamie’s insights. Interviews with him are always very interesting. I’m glad to see this program doing so well. And I was also surprised by the size of the fire truck! It’s massive!

  • jabber-baby-wocky February 25, 2019, 3:26 PM

    Thank you for the videos. They are very interesting. It makes it a lot clearer how the program works. They should have had the built version of the sets in the crowdfunding page. They look so much better than the Studio renders!

    • admin February 26, 2019, 1:44 PM

      I agree with that about the built versions looking better than the digital images. But I guess that’s why they are sharing this video. 🙂

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