The LEGO Group held an 'Ask Me Anything' Q&A with Two-Time LEGO® Ideas Fan Designer, Andrew Clark, in Reddit's r/LEGO.
Get to know him more and find out interesting tidbits on what it takes to get your own design into an actual LEGO® commercial set!
"Hello, I'm Andrew Clark! I am the fan designer of two official LEGO Ideas sets, Doctor Who and The Flintstones. I also have a project that is currently on LEGO Ideas based on The Thunderbirds that is almost to 10k. I am happy to answer your questions related to my process of creating a LEGO Ideas set proposal and any questions surrounding LEGO Ideas that I am allowed to answer."
Whats your favorite Ideas set that has been released that is not one you made? - u/kcaz507
I would say my favorite three Ideas sets are:
Saturn V as it's an epic, large detailed build
The Ghostbusters due to nostalgia.
The birds, as it's more of a pure LEGO build (not related to an IP)
What’s your designing process like and what’s it like dealing with LEGO after your set has been approved?(making sure the set is stable and such) - u/PakistaniAgent
First of all, projects can require a lot of time and effort so the first thing I do is make sure it's something they allow on the site and doesn't conflict with any of the rules or any current products. Then, I select something both passionate about and I feel has a good chance of getting the votes and into review.
The next step is I gather as much reference as possible and initially start designing some rough models using a program like LDD.
Then, when I've gotten it as far as I can get it on LDD, I build it in real LEGO to see if it works as I imagined it and that it's stable. Typically, I have to make adjustments when building in real LEGO.
I also create renders of the model, as sometimes the parts do not yet exist in the right colors and lack any unique printings or graphics I would want to create.
I also create a video to show any play features. I think the combination of a physical model that shows it works as a physical model, and renders that show an idealized view, is the best approach.
Once your project enters review, they ask for any additional information (extra photos you may have, LDD files, etc) which helps them build the model so they can evaluate it. Then it goes dark for a while and you don't hear much. I did have two video chats with LEGO, which is standard procedure and I got to see their prototypes and give my thoughts.
Which program(s) do you use to design your sets?
I use LEGO Digital Designer, and if some parts do not exist in that program, then I use others like Mecabricks.
I use a 3D program where I can render out the model. I use Redshift for the rendering and then I use Photoshop to tweak the images (contrast, saturation etc).
Welcome! I noticed in the final design of The Flintstones - 21316, there were some changes from your original design, most noticeably to the car. Could you tell us what the process is like between having your LEGO Ideas project selected and the final design of the set being finalized? - u/mescad
Since they are making the final product, they have a lot more restrictions. For example, some of the elements I used in my design were likely not available anymore. With the car, my design only seated two minifigures, whereas they decided they wanted it to fit all four, so the car had to be lengthened. Also, they decided to go with a cloth piece for the roof, which is more accurate to the show, but it's not something I could have proposed, as LEGO Ideas does not allow you to propose new elements.
What is your #1 advice if anybody wants to be successful on LEGO Ideas? - u/didiandcon
Try to be objective, and look at your intended proposal from every aspect to see if anything about it could cause any issues should it get to review. Additionally, no matter how good the model, you still need to promote it. I have seen a lot of good models that didn't get as many votes as they deserved, so you need to put as much time and effort into promoting it as you do creating it.
How involved are you with the LEGO designers coming up with the final iteration of the product? - u/gambitloveslegos
I gave feedback on two video calls, and also I gave some feedback by way of images sent to them.
I own both of your sets, i think they are great! What is your favorite license of the two (not taking into consideration your sets)? Also, what did you do with your 10 copies of the sets from LEGO? - u/EazyBreezy17
Thanks! Doctor Who has a lot more recent episodes, so it is probably my favorite as I am still watching them regularly.
As for the ten copies, I built two of them and most of the rest I gave to friends and family. Four of them (two of each) are in storage for my children for when they are adults.
Congratulations on your two sets. I own Dr. Who and plan to buy the Flintstones with next month's LEGO budget. I am also hoping to get Thunderbirds down the road:) Thank you for taking time to answer questions. I am wondering if LEGO knows at the beginning of a set run how many copies of the Ideas set they will make? Are you aware of what goes into determining those production run numbers? - u/mfg3000
I don't know for sure, my guess is that marketing and other department determine how many to make. If then the set exceeds expectations and that run sells out quick with demand still high then I presume they would do another batch.
We hope that Andrew's insight inspire more builders to share their creations for us to have more awesome LEGO® Ideas sets to look forward to!
Do you have a great LEGO® set idea? Submit it at https://ideas.lego.com/
Say Yabba Dabba Doo with Andrew's LEGO® Ideas 21316 The Flintstones!