It's hard to imagine that the brand of colourful, modular blocks would still be thriving in today's digital and technological age. Sure, a part of it can be credited to nostalgia, as many Adult Fans of Lego have brought their love of these bricks along with them into their adulthood, becoming collectors or creators.
But it's not just adults.
A new generation of kids today will be able to credit playing with lego as the first steps into their careers as engineers or STEM fields.
With the release of the Mindstorm set in 1998, it was clear that the company saw a bridge between technology and building. Lego wanted to find a way where children could build and control their creations through programming. The first prototypes would be connected through wires to a computer and it soon became clear that if they were to market these sets, the bricks themselves would have to be programmable and light enough to be carried.
These days, Lego Mindstorm sets are still as popular as ever, allowing children their first foray into robotics and coding. The Mindstorms Robot Inventor set even comes with an app that allows you to control your creations on your device. With the undeniable benefits of allowing children the freedom to create as they play, Lego has also moved with the times and incorporated new technological advancements into their products to allow kids to learn and play at the same time.
With the almost viral popularity of Minecraft, it's clear that children still had a love of building and creating, even if it was done online. But Lego's foray into video games began much earlier. In 1995, Lego released its first videogame, a simple puzzle solving game which integrated building mechanics. Lego's later games would tie in with popular movie franchises such as Star Wars, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean. And when they released the Lego Movie in 2014, they released a video game as well to generally positive reviews.
From robotic sets to videogames, Lego is still able to capture the hearts and minds of children to this day.
The Danish toy giant's philosophy leg godt which translates to play well has led them to create toys that appeal to kids desire to play creatively, even if it meant moving away from the traditional mainstay of bricks. Lego's ability to stay adaptable and willingness to go far beyond a mere toy creator has cemented their spot as one of the most successful companies in the world.
Whenever anyone thinks of children’s toys, lego is bound to be on the list. Who else can remember the joy of stacking bricks together with childhood friends? There a few children's toys that are able to bring out a little one's imagination and creativity like lego does.
These days, lego choices have expanded far past the signature bricks to minifigures, custom builds and even movies and theme parks around the world! Lego has been a global phenomenon and it’s not hard to imagine why. Not only are they fun to play with, there are multiple benefits that come along with playing with lego.
Whether you’re a new parent or searching for the perfect gift for younger cousins, getting a set of lego is the perfect way to go. There have been countless research papers detailing the educational benefits of playing with lego as a child. Some of these include problem solving and developing spatial awareness and motor skills, learning focus and concentration.
But did you know that there are actually quite a few benefits for playing with lego as an adult too!
Relaxation for the stressed out workaholic
In an increasingly competitive world full of deadlines and tasks to complete, the company has shifted gears away from AFOL and children to instead focus on working adults. While it can be nice to get on Netflix or YouTube to catch up on shows to relax, chances are that you've spent the entire day in front of a screen and your brain is overstimulated. A set of lego can be the perfect company for some quiet time to practice mindfulness.
Reconnecting with your Creative side
Side hustles have become popular and in a capitalistic world, we are sometimes made to feel like our time should be spent making money. Enjoy paintings? Sell your art. Enjoy designing? Find projects in your free time to get some extra income. While it isn't a terrible thing to profit off your hobbies and interests, playing with lego can be a great way to connect with your creative side without worrying about how the finished product will be judged. It's a purpose-free and stress-free way to indulge in creating something entirely yours without any expectations.
Combining your interests
Many AFOLs are collectors of minifigures and it can be an enjoyable process to figure out the best ways to display your minifigures. You could create a project to build a case for your collection, design your house in a way to best showcase the figures that you have and it's the perfect excuse to learn photography if it's something that you've always wanted to try. Many lego fans even bring their minfigs on trips overseas so that they have picturesque backdrops for their photos!
Mental Health Perks
With the chaos that's happening in the midst of a global pandemic, it's natural to feel anxious stressed and a little lost. That's what makes a lego set paired with instructions an amazing tool for mental health. There's little that you can do to mess it up and what makes it so fulfilling is that you can spend time focusing the process, and you'll always know the next steps to take when you look at the instructions, you'll be able to find a sense of achievement with the finished product.
The pluses and appeal of playing with lego as an adult go beyond mere nostalgia and while it can be a way to feel the joy you felt as a child, it's really the perfect way to find some peace in a busy world that's always demanding something of you.
What started in the work shop of a Danish toymaker, Ole Kirk Christiansen, has now evolved into a simple and beloved toy regardless of age and location. It's hard to imagine that the little plastic brick came about through making wooden toys but that was how it began. The company was named after a Danish phrase, leg godt, which translated to play well.
The first official plastic brick was made in 1949 by Lego and when Christiansen's company was passed down to his son Godfred, the lego brick with interlocking studs that you recognise today was patented. The simple toy bricks' popularity soon spread throughout Europe and in 1969, bigger brick were introduced for younger kids who struggled to play with regular sized legos.
Most would then inevitably remember playing with Lego bricks as a part of their childhood and to this day, this still holds true.
In the 70s, Lego would go on to produce the signature smiling minifigures that you know and love and became common part of Lego play sets. As the company and technology evolved more customisation took place and a whole new world of creation and imagination was born. Lego has remained iconic and a part of our culture with many lego sets breaking world records and astounding the kids of today.
These days, you can find a customised lego minifigures for every show, movie, comic book character that you love and the lego brick isn't just limited to children anymore. With the rise of the internet, Adult Fans of Legos (AFOLs) can connect through online groups or social media to share their love of lego. Whether someone is a collector of themed minifigures or a builder of fantastical lego sets, they'll be able to reach across to globe to find someone with tips to help their craft or simply a friend who understands their passion for these unassuming brick toys.
To this day, Christiansen's decendants remain as the head of the company. Just like a wooden toy shop passed from father to son, from generation to generation, many adults remember fondly their time in their youth playing with lego and are now passing that joy down to their children.
(Image via Unsplash)
Some of you have been asking, so we’re finally going to talk about printing for customised lego minifigures!
There are mainly two kinds of printing for lego minifigures: pad printing or UV printing. (There are also hand painted minifigures but the name explains the process pretty well so we don’t need to go into that.) You’ve probably seen these two terms appearing in the details of the products on the Loot A Brick website. So, maybe you’ve been wondering what’s the difference between pad printing and UV printing and which is better?
Well, read on to find out more and we’ll let you decide for yourself.
(Image via Unsplash)
With pad printing, an inked design is taken by the silicone press of the pad printing machine and transferred onto the lego part.
Basically, it’s like using a giant stamp to print a design and it’s a more traditional way of printing.
One of the great things about pad printing is that because the press is made of silicone it moulds to the shape of the object and would give a cleaner print to curved surfaces. But one of the downsides is that you can only print colour at a time with pad printing. You’ve also got to factor in drying time before the next layer is printed.
This means that pad printing is a more costly process compared to UV printing. It's also woth noting that Official Lego products are pad printed, so if you want a more "authentic looking" minifigure then you should definitely opt for pad printing on your minifigures.
UV (ultraviolet) printing is a form of digital printing where a special type of ink is used and dried with UV lights. And becayse UV light is used to dry the ink and multiple colours can be applied at the same time, the process is relatively quick and costs less than pad printing.
However, one of the downsides of UV printing that many lego collectors and creators have voiced out is that you can feel the "layer" of UV printing on the lego part compared to the smooth finish of pad printed designs. But then again, there are others who argue that the differences between the two are miniscule and barely noticeable.
(Image via Unsplash)
Of course, this is ultimately dependent on the quality of inks and printers used and both can give you great quality prints on your lego parts! It's just a matter of preference.
The internet is a modern marvel made for crossing borders and connecting with people from all over the world. No matter how obscure your hobbies are, there’s always a place for you online to connect with like-minded people.
For LEGO lovers, those spaces are LUGs.
LEGO User Groups, or LUGs, are dedicated communities of AFOLs (Adult Fans of Legos) to connect over their love of Lego. While many LUGs hold events and meet-ups in real life, many enthusiasts also just join online communities like LUG forums or FaceBook pages. In the age of social media, anyone can join and share LEGO memes, show off their impressive collections and ask for advice about their own collections and of course, keep up-to-date on the latest products and news. Some LUGs even hold contests for members to win prizes!
Though not all LUGs are recognised officially with LEGO, there are over 400 recognised online communities and LUGs worldwide that are listed on LEGO’s official website. So you can probably imagine how many more LUGs there are unofficially.
So whether you’re a LEGO enthusiast in Germany or Spain, you’ll be able to find a LUG in your area and in your preferred language. LUGs aren’t just limited to countries, there are many that span across regions like Asia.
If you’re a new enthusiast, a collector or a photographer who hasn’t joined a LUG, here are a few reasons why you should!
Find a sense of community
Let’s be honest, lego are widely (wrongly) assumed to be toys for children and if you’re an AFOL, the chances of organically finding a group of people who love lego as you are pretty low. So, why not go online and join a community with people who share and understand the same passion for Lego as you?
Inspiration and Ideas
Many users share videos and photos of MOCs (My Own Creation), meaning self-built creations that weren't bought in a set. If you’re looking to create something of your own, these are a great way to get some ideas for your next project.
Advice and Tutorials
If you’re a beginner and looking for advice about your lego, LUGs are a great way to get in touch with experienced collectors and builders and die-hard enthusiasts about your burning questions. Some users even share their tutorials of their creations so that you can re-create them easily.
If you’re a fledgling Lego enthusiast who is just starting out, just know that you aren't alone and in the age of the internet and social media, you're only one click away from joining an LUG and finding your community.