18 May 2018

Fan Media Days are approaching!

Posted by Admin
I'm excited to report that because our GoFundMe campaign is going so well, our first goal is a certainty: to send a reporter to the LEGO® Fan Media Days in Billund, Denmark in a couple of weeks' time! This is a three-day event is an initiative of Kim Ellekjaer Thomsen from The LEGO Group's AFOL Engagement department, who wanted to provide fan media with the same opportunities that the mainstream media enjoy: most importantly a day-long interview junket with staff from various LEGO themes (like this fine bunch from Bionicle in 2016).

What do I mean by fan media? Recognised LEGO Fan Media (RLFMs) are the online blogs, sites, social media channels etc. who have been recognised by The LEGO Group as offering something worthwhile and original to the LEGO community. You can read more on the LEGO Ambassador Network. New Elementary is lucky enough to be an RLFM, and to be invited to Fan Media Days.

This means we can bring you extra content this year: fascinating interviews conducted by Are J. Heiseldal. Are is a journalist who works for the Norwegian channel TV 2 Sporten, but more importantly he's an AFOL, well known throughout the worldwide LEGO community thanks to his involvement at events plus of course as L@GO on Flickr where you'll find his modern reinterpretations of classic 1980s City sets.

You ask the questions

What would you like Are to ask LEGO employees? Add your suggested questions to the comments area below and he will include the most interesting ones.

We won't know until the day exactly which teams he will speak to but it might be any of the following: LEGO Minifigures, Unikitty, Harry Potter, LEGO Ideas, Brickheadz, LEGO Architecture, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, LEGO Friends, LEGO Creator Expert, LEGO Mindstorms and TT Games / LEGO Games. Also, he might interview members of the AFOL Engagement team: Tormod Askildsen (head of AFOL Engagement), Jan Beyer (manager AFOL Network Events) or Signe Lønholdt (senior manager Community Growth / LEGO Ambassador Network). There are some other exciting events lined up at Fan Media Days that we will reveal at the time.

GoFundMe continues

We are looking to run more parts festivals and building contests in 2018, and the funds currently being raised will go towards the worldwide postage costs for these. 

If you enjoy New Elementary, would you consider helping our GoFundMe campaign... in the same way that you might put money towards buying an app, a book or an annual magazine subscription?

Finally and most importantly, a big shout out to the (at time of writing) 22 people who have kindly raised £458 for New Elementary to be able to deliver this content to everyone! What the hey, they deserve to be named personally here – in reverse chronological order they are Dustin Durham, Tim Goddard, Deborah Higdon, Gary Scheppke, Michael Studman, Jackie Britton, Adrian Hennessy, Matthew Martelli, OBrick Wan, Mevit's Bricks, Richard Jones, Rhys Knight, Richard Selby, Eduard Petrac, Alexander Alekseyev, Kevin Gascoigne, Neil Crosby and our four anonymous donors – you are all utterly awesome. Amounts varied from £5 to £100, with an average of £20, and I'm utterly blown away by that. Thanks also to those who haven't felt able to donate but offered such kind words of encouragement. Having kept this up for five years now, this really means a lot to me. 


  1. To whomever you may interview, here are a few broader questions you could ask to any designer and/or design team, regardless of which theme or product line they are assigned to:
    - How well acquainted are you with the work of set designers and/or design teams assigned to the development of other themes and product lines? Is each design team's work-in-development kept confidential from other design teams?
    - Did you ever work with Warner Brothers during the pre-production of any of their three cinematic Lego Movies released so far? Are you working with them currently on the pre-production of either one of their next upcoming entries into Lego's cinematic franchise?
    - Like the recently resurrected Dark Turquoise, are there any discontinued colors you hope or wish to see revived? Furthermore, do you feel that there are any gaps in the spectrum on Lego's color palette?
    - Are there any particular Lego parts you wished you had, or feel you could've used at times recently?
    - Is there a type of set you'd hope to design someday?

    1. Unless it may be too late, I do have one other general question for designers:

      - How are both kids and adults selected for test groups? Are they randomly selected, or are they selected by survey perhaps?

  2. I saw a picture of bionicles and got super excited. Lol

    I'd probably want to ask a question about Lego's plan for CCBS going forward, but since Are doesn't know who he'll be talking to, I won't bother.

    Seeing as how this is the New Elementary, I would ask if there's any way some new exciting elements themselves could be shown, seeing as this is what this blog specializes in.

  3. If the opportunity arises, here are a few questions for designers/design teams assigned to some of the specific themes/product lines mentioned:
    - While the Technic theme has primarily focused upon real-life source material, have there ever been any recent exploration into developing sets based upon more, say, fantastic source material? For instance, would sets based upon a sci-fi inspired moon buggy or Mars exploration vehicle ever be or have been considered? What about inspirational source material cited from the Mecha and Steampunk genres, particularly for instance?
    - Have licensed properties besides automobile brands ever been considered in more recent history as source material for sets? For instance, would something like, say, a Technic Batmobile ever happen; and if so, would it be branded under the Technic theme, or the licensed theme that already exists for the property?
    - What decisions are made in deciding how many licensed and non-licensed Collectable Minifigure Series are done each year? Can we assuredly see at least one non-licensed Minifigure Series per year from here on?
    - Were there any alternate ideas on how Series 18 was going to be done to celebrate the minifigure's fortieth anniversary? Why was the "costume party" theme chosen?
    - What's your favorite Collectable Minifigure and/or Collectable Minifigure Series so far? What archetype do you hope to see or personally design for a future Series?
    - Will future themed series like Series 14 and Series 18 always be reserved for seasonal or commemorative occasions only? Have genre themed series ever been considered before, such as Sci-Fi, Fantasy, or Historical themed series?
    - Do you know if design teams assigned to specific themes and product lines ever take note of rejected Ideas/CUUSOO projects that are based upon preexisting licenses and product lines they work on? If so, have they ever taken inspiration from any of those rejected projects for new sets afterwards?
    - Has much attention been paid to Eurobricks Embassy subforum in recent years?

  4. Super excited for y'all!
    - With the increasing interest in SpaceX and Blue Origin companies will we see a new Space theme from Lego? I know people I talk with we all want to see a new Space theme with big Trans-* windsheilds to come back! We don't consider Star Wars a space theme... ;-)
    - We always love new elemnts! What does it take to get a new element designed or made? I am asking about the process of deciding why they need that new element. Not the process of making it.

    Enjoy yourselves and we can't wait to see all the posts from this trip! Keep up the great work!

    1. Two very excellent questions Mevit!:-D
      P.S. Have you read this interview with Creator Expert designer Mike Psiaki from last year's event before? ;-)


    2. I hadn't seen that! Thank you very much!

  5. If the chance arises for Are to interview anybody from the Creator Expert design team, I certainly have a boatload of questions he could ask them! :-D

    - How easy is it to approve of new parts for Creator Expert sets compared to other themes?
    - Was the color Dark Turquoise chosen to be resurrected for the Downtown Diner specifically?
    - Will Art Nouveau ever be tackled as an architectural style for the Modular Building line, or would it be too difficult to capture in Lego bricks?
    - What advice could be given to AFOLs who are creating architectural LEGO Ideas projects, particularly regarding on how to keep minifig-scaled ones from clashing with the Modular Building line?
    - Will either the Modular Building line or the Winter Village line ever change their time period setting from a modern one to a pre-20th Century/pre-21st Century setting? Say for instance, the Modular Building and/or Winter Village line changed their setting to one set in Victorian England or the American Wild West. Would that ever be a possibility in the far future?
    - Does the Downtown Diner signal any sort of new direction for the future of the Modular Building subtheme, for the next ten years that is?
    - Is there a particular architectural style you've perhaps taken a liking to that you wish to see adopted by the modular building line in the future?
    - Have non-D2C (a.k.a Direct to Consumer) sets for the Expert theme ever been considered before in the past? Do you feel that more affordable Expert series sets sold on a retailer wide basis could ever be a possibility in the future?

    I have more to come that I'll post sometime later! :-)

    1. More questions for Creator Expert designers:

      - Does the Creator Expert theme have the same access to automobile licenses which the Speed Champions theme has? Are there any particular automobiles brands that are off-limits to the theme that aren't to other set lines?
      - Has there ever been considered a revival of the Designer line of Creator sets (2003-2005), perhaps as a another subtheme of Creator to sit in between the "Three-In-One" and Expert lines?
      - Was the rollercoaster track system designed for the Creator Expert set, the Joker Manor, or for no specific set in particular?
      - Do you feel that fan-favorite Classic themes like Space, Pirates, and Castle would be better suited for the "Three-In-One" line of Creator sets as opposed to the Expert line? This year, we saw the release of two Creator sets which were lightly inspired after the Classic Pirates line. Could this perhaps be the start of something?
      - Given the broad nature of the Creator theme as a whole, understandably, the line can cover a wide range of subjects as source material for sets. But, is there any theme or subject that the Creator theme couldn't or wouldn't possibly ever cover? If so, why?

    2. Even more questions!

      - How and why was the Fairground line chosen as a reoccurring subtheme of Creator Expert sets? Also, was there a reason that we didn't see a Fairground themed set in 2016?
      - Why was the Creator Expert theme's last train set (2013's Horizon Express) chosen to be modeled after a European TVG high speed train? Were there any other candidates for inspiration strongly considered at the time when contemplating the next Creator Expert train set?
      - Were there any particular reasons that 2016's Volkswagen Beetle was chosen to be built primarily in the color Dark Azure?
      - What do you think about the idea of "L-Gauge" locomotives being done for the "Three-In-One" Creator line, perhaps as an alternative to Expert series train sets?

    3. MORE questions:

      - How did the Creator Expert subtheme come to be? What was the reasoning for the placement of the "Advanced" line as a subtheme of Creator back in 2013?
      - Have 16×32 half-width modular buildings ever been considered before in the past?
      - As of 2017, we have seen four automobiles done for the Creator Expert theme, including 2014's Mini Cooper, 2015's Ferrari F40, 2016's Volkswagen Beetle, and 2017's London Double-Decker Bus, which have all so far been of non-American vehicles. So, does there happen to be any reason for this? Have European models been found to have a broader, more global appeal over American models?

  6. - If you could add one color to the LEGO palette, what would it be?
    - If you could have an inverted (studs on opposite side) version of any element, which element would you choose and why?

  7. If Are has the chance to interview anybody from the design team for Friends, I do have one question I'd like him to ask:

    - Is Space a setting that could ever be traveled to, or at least addressed in some way, by the Friends theme? Or, do you think it would be better suited for different minidoll theme altogether, perhaps one with a particular focus on Space?

  8. Do the design team keep track of what is going on in the MOC world - how new pieces are being used, which are popular etc?

    Amongst AFOLs there is a perennial call to go back to pirate, castle, and Lego own branded space themes. Are these not popular with kids anymore in the same way as they were 30 years ago? These themes have made small resurgences by never seem to last more than a season.

    Amongst MOC builders there are very common design themes that reappear again and again: studless designs for space, and extremely complex chaotic designs (e.g. Walls or terrain) for castle - are either of these ever going to be reflected in Lego set design or are they against the design
    ethos of the company?

  9. That first question in particular is a pretty good one! Hopefully you'll be able to have all of your questions asked to designers at this point in the game. :-)