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Why the Colour Changes of 2004?


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#1 BrickClick

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 04:31 PM

Hello again!

I have another question!
I was wondering why did Lego change the colour of their bricks, For example changing light grey and dark grey to light bley and dark bley.
Does anyone have any idea why they changed the colours?

Thanks  :classic:
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#2 Brickdoctor

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 05:05 PM

This has been on FBTB for quite some time:

LEGO Community Development Liaison Jake McKee said:

Subject: Color Change background

First off, I apologize for bringing this issue up again, but a promise is a promise. I said I would deliver more background info on the color change, and here it is. In an effort to reduce the almost certain flood of responses to this post, please understand that I am only posting the story, and won’t be debating the color change merits. My goal here is to simple share the real story of how the color change to be. Sorry for taking so long to get this out to you. In an effort to be 100% accurate, I wanted to fact check like mad before posting. I know that some people won’t believe this is the “real” story, but if you have a stack of Bibles, I’m ready to swear on them.

Now, on with the story! First a little background.

The Design Lab is an internal group at the LEGO Company who is responsible for overseeing the “system” aspects of everything the LEGO Company does. They’re the ones that maintain the element library, element history, “own” the element design process (working with others in the company), own and guide the growth of the element library (ensuring the element selection doesn’t get out of control like the late 90s), own the color palette, and many other tasks. Basically, they work to ensure that the system works long term, and is the most robust, consumer (kids and adults) friendly it can possibly be.

Around the beginning of 2000, we found ourselves with a color palette that was growing far too quickly, and far too organically. There wasn’t enough vision put into how we were expanding and adding new colors. The decision was made to apply the same type of thinking we now use in approaching the long term element design process to the color palette. The desired outcome was to create a color palette that would work effectively for years to come, and that could scale easily and correctly. We didn’t want to end up with the same out-of-control color situation as we did with elements in the late 90s – that was a hard lesson to learn, but we learned it well.

This initiative led to a revised color palette. This new color palette included some deletions of low-use colors, additions of new colors, and some tweaks to the existing colors. The goal in all these changes was completely and totally focused on creating the absolute best set of LEGO colors possible.

There has been a great deal of assumptions posted about the reasons we made the changes. Everything from trying to copy MEGABloks, to trying to save money on recycling parts. I know it seems hard to believe (unless you really think about the long-term history and attitude of this company), but it really is as simple as trying to create a sustainable and consistent color palette for the future.

As one part of the process of defining this new, long-term color palette, we tested the new color palette with children in the US and Germany. I won’t get into the details of how we actually tested, as I don’t have those details. But suffice to say, the tests came back overwhelmingly positive.

A planned roll-out plan of these new colors was planned and implemented for all products produced starting January 2004. The thinking was that it was much better to simply make a quick switch to the new colors, assuming (correctly, from what little we’ve heard from non-AFOL sources; incorrectly from what we’ve heard from the AFOLs) that the change would go fairly unnoticed. Changes are made regularly to the bricks, to make them better in some way. Improved clutching power, easier part separation, and many other things I don’t begin to claim to understand are regularly tweaked to help improve the elements. With the LEGO Company’s desire to keep their decades-long reputation for quality, we’re constantly working to improve things that almost all the time, consumers won’t even notice. I know a statement like this will open a can of worms. The point I’m making is just that we are constantly improving little small things trying to make the overall system even better.

Of course, one thing that Design Lab was unaware of at the time of implementation was the incredible impact on the AFOLs. It’s hard to remember, but when this “color palette cleanup” process was first initiated, LEGO Direct was one person – Brad Justus. The LEGO Community Development team was more than 3 years away from being formed. My role was both the Community Liaison (30%) and Web Producer (90%) – an amount that adds up to more than 100%!

Unfortunately, I simply wasn’t able to carry the AFOL message to the Design Lab in time. For that I apologize. I know I’ve let you down, and because of it, a good number of people no longer trust me and/or the company.

Right or wrong, agree or disagree (yes, I know that you all believe it was the wrong decision and disagree with it), please understand that we fully acknowledge and apologize for our poor implementation. I know, I know – many of you believe that the change should never have been made.

Because I’ve been working closely with Design Lab (together with my LCD Team colleagues) to help carry your message of frustration and concern, they now understand your concerns probably better than any group in the company. Again, I apologize for having not done a better job, earlier, in getting the AFOLs introduced to this group.

Many, especially those in the 1000steine community, have voiced their concerns with my/our efforts to help find a bridge between old and new. Some feel, as was posted on LUGNET, that efforts like the colors bags are “tranquilizers”. That was not at all the intention. Since we still believe in the changes (not the implementation, mind you), and the costs would simply be incredible prohibitive at this point (we lost a bit of money last year...), we’ve tried to do our best to help deliver to you as much as we can to help this transition. Is that trying to “keep you quiet”? Not to me… to me, it’s trying to respond to your needs. Those things include:

* Admitting that we made a mistake in our implementation
* Defining in writing, what colors have been locked i.e. defined as “universal”, thus being “untouchable” (will have a full list once it’s ready in a few weeks)
* Agreeing to consult core consumers (AFOLs and child enthusiasts – Club kids) when making future core changes.
* Working on solutions to provide either old bricks or new bricks to help ease the transition.

I don’t begin to think that we’ll never make another mistake again. After all, the company is made up of humans, and humans make mistakes. What I do hope you know, or agree is that we will do a better job of trying to ensure this type of situation doesn’t happen again.

I hope this helps clear things up.

Jake
---
Jake McKee
Community Liaison
LEGO Community Development


#3 Fugazi

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 05:23 PM

*huh*
This is a very interesting post, thank you Brickdoctor for sharing it here!

The only question it doesn't answer as far as I'm interested, is why did TLG feel a need to 'update' the old grey/brown colours? I understand the need to rationalise and reduce, but replace? What was inadequate with the old colours, was it the availability/cost of the pigments, durability of the final product, appeal to younger customers (the new colours are more vibrant), or something else altogether?

Oh, and did TLG ever publish that list of 'untouchable' colours? I would be curious to see that!
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#4 BrickClick

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 05:31 PM

Thanks for the info BrickDoctor!
That was very interesting to read through  :classic:
I too am curious though about why they had to ''tweak'' colours like brown/old grey.

Its also good to hear that they don't think they will make the mistake again, And they better not  :devil:

Edited by BrickClick, 29 July 2010 - 05:32 PM.

Thanks to Jebediahs for the great avatar!

#5 Aanchir

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 05:35 PM

View PostFugazi, on 29 July 2010 - 05:23 PM, said:

*huh*
This is a very interesting post, thank you Brickdoctor for sharing it here!

The only question it doesn't answer as far as I'm interested, is why did TLG feel a need to 'update' the old grey/brown colours? I understand the need to rationalise and reduce, but replace? What was inadequate with the old colours, was it the availability/cost of the pigments, durability of the final product, appeal to younger customers (the new colours are more vibrant), or something else altogether?

Oh, and did TLG ever publish that list of 'untouchable' colours? I would be curious to see that!
Well, one reason I heard during a Q&A session at last year's Brickfair convention was that the previous colors just looked really dingy and boring when used next to other prominent LEGO colors like red and blue. The change was partly to brighten the colors up so they'd look better in comparison.

I certainly prefer reddish brown and bley to the old brown and gray, for this precise reason.

Not entirely certain which colors are deemed "untouchable", but I can guarantee you that they're probably on here.

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#6 Carbohydrates

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 05:43 PM

View PostFugazi, on 29 July 2010 - 05:23 PM, said:

The only question it doesn't answer as far as I'm interested, is why did TLG feel a need to 'update' the old grey/brown colours?
That's the question that struck me as I was reading that, too. If I had to guess, I'd imagine it just wasn't a big deal to them. The article states that they misjudged how AFOLs would react, which means to me that they didn't even really consider that a color change would cause a big impact at all. So, looking at it from that perspective rather than ours, why not tighten up the colors a bit as long as you're re-doing your color palate anyway?

edit: I suppose I misinterpreted your question a bit there, sorry!

I'm glad they acknowledged the poor implementation and reaction, though. When this happened, it was actually so frustrating to me that I attribute it as the #1 thing that put me into my little 5-year dark age there. It even still bothers me, as a collector of Western and other themes that use the old grays and brown, that I can't modify these sets with my current collection without having to buy old bricks, of which there's now a finite source. It's even more frustrating when I'm designing a model in LDD (which is what I do 90% of my MOCing in) and I find that some gray elements in the model are only available in new gray, and some only in old. I've gotten a lot more "over it" now, and I do prefer the new shades of gray and brown, but I can't help but wish the color change had never happened at all.

That all said, I think there's one thing the we can be incredibly grateful for! This event opened LEGO's eyes to the AFOL community and its influence a lot more than in the past - the article states that LEGO's community team didn't even exist at this point. Without this event transpiring, would we have seen the sudden birth of amazing Exclusives targeted at AFOLs, like the modular houses or legendary Emerald Night? It's difficult to say, but it's certainly food for thought.

Edited by Carbohydrates, 29 July 2010 - 05:47 PM.


#7 Brickdoctor

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 08:01 PM

View PostAanchir, on 29 July 2010 - 05:35 PM, said:

Well, one reason I heard during a Q&A session at last year's Brickfair convention was that the previous colors just looked really dingy and boring when used next to other prominent LEGO colors like red and blue. The change was partly to brighten the colors up so they'd look better in comparison.
I remember that too. I know dark red was changed as well. I'm not sure about reddish brown, especially since it's disappeared from sets lately*.

*My reference point is the lineup of Chewbaccas on my shelf. There's an original brown one that matches the color of an old Classic Castle Knight, there's a reddish brown one from '05, and there's the newest one from the Battle of Endor set that looks like a slightly darker but more vibrant version of original brown. I would guess that reddish brown was phased out because of manufacturing problems, because a Chewie I got in the Wookiee Catamaran was from the reddish brown era, but it's more of a 'metallic brown'.

#8 Fugazi

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 08:18 PM

Thanks for your replies! Yes I suppose that changing the drab colours to make them more appealing to kids sounds like the best explanation to why it all happened. For the record,
I was already in my dark age in 2004 so I never noticed anything until very recently. I would likely have been pissed off back then, but now that I've returned to Lego I don't fret much over it. It's done, it won't come back, we have to make the best of it. And I do hope that everybody has learned the lesson so that it doesn't happen again.

View PostBrickdoctor, on 29 July 2010 - 08:01 PM, said:

the newest one from the Battle of Endor set that looks like a slightly darker but more vibrant version of original brown.
I'm not a SW specialist, but reddish brown has certainly not been phased out. Perhaps you are referring to the 'new' dark brown that has appeared around 2007, it does bear resemblance to the old brown but is somewhat darker. Both browns (reddish and dark) coexist in the current colour palette.

Edited by Fugazi, 29 July 2010 - 08:19 PM.

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#9 Front

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 08:45 PM

Brickdoctor thank you for showing the message from Jake McKee about the colours. He did a great job writing that letter.

#10 Aanchir

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 09:12 PM

View PostBrickdoctor, on 29 July 2010 - 08:01 PM, said:

I remember that too. I know dark red was changed as well. I'm not sure about reddish brown, especially since it's disappeared from sets lately*.

*My reference point is the lineup of Chewbaccas on my shelf. There's an original brown one that matches the color of an old Classic Castle Knight, there's a reddish brown one from '05, and there's the newest one from the Battle of Endor set that looks like a slightly darker but more vibrant version of original brown. I would guess that reddish brown was phased out because of manufacturing problems, because a Chewie I got in the Wookiee Catamaran was from the reddish brown era, but it's more of a 'metallic brown'.
Dark red and reddish brown formulas haven't been changed since the colors debuted, as far as I know. Any differences are probably natural variability. When LEGO releases a new color, they release it under a new name and ID#-- thus #192 Reddish Brown replaced #25 Earth Orange (the official name of old brown, unrelated to the color Bricklink calls Earth Orange). #194 Medium Stone Grey (light bley) replaced #2 Grey, #199 Dark Stone Grey (dark bley) replaced #27 Dark Grey. But Dark Red's been #154 since its debut.

From a BIONICLE fan's perspective, it's easy to see that there's been variation in Dark Red, along with #140 Earth Blue (dark blue) and #141 Earth Green (dark green). But it's mostly natural variability. For that matter, when I got this set, I could easily separate the red and yellow parts into two distinct groups based on the consistency of the color.

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#11 Carbohydrates

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 09:25 PM

Reddish brown in particular was pretty wildly inconsistent for a period. If any of you have a Cafe Corner handy, have a look at the brown bricks that make up the back walls. The shades of brown range rather dramatically there. I've experienced a little of the same with dark red, though not so drastic, and dark green. I'll have to take your word about dark blue - I really don't have many bricks in that color.

#12 Artanis I

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 01:02 AM

Was this related to the new plastic introduced to combat "yellowing"? I was in the dark ages so I don't know what happened when.

Although I don't expect brown would "yellow" much. Grey, certainly.
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#13 CP5670

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 04:20 AM

Reddish brown did change some time in 2007. You can still see a mix of older and newer parts of that color in more recent sets, like the asteroid bank in 5982.

There have been quite a few "color changes" since the original 2004 ones, even though TLG doesn't officially consider them as such. For some colors, the variability in different parts of that color is at least as large as the difference between old and new gray.

Edited by CP5670, 30 July 2010 - 04:21 AM.


#14 Svelte

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 04:33 AM

Yes, it's a shame we only had parts in the new colours two or three years before the awfulness of LEGO mixing its own colours started :sick:

Every so often I open up an old sealed 2004-2005 Harry Potter set, and whilst there may be some slight variation in the consistency of shades, it's nowhere near as volatile as from 2007 onwards. Some of the best designs and worst parts; that's what the late 2000s will be remembered by (a set like the 10188 is a beautiful design but absolutely craptastic with all its shades of bleys once you start putting it together).

The wording of consulting AFOLs about 'core' colour changes is an interesting one, since they have acknowledged changing colours (such as the pearl grays and gold in 2010) without any particular consultation that I'm aware of. It's political speak, like 'core' and 'non-core' promises :wink:





#15 Carbohydrates

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 05:28 AM

View PostSvelte, on 30 July 2010 - 04:33 AM, said:

Some of the best designs and worst parts; that's what the late 2000s will be remembered by.
How perfectly succinct. I'm half tempted to sig that.

edit: Why not!

Edited by Carbohydrates, 30 July 2010 - 05:34 AM.


#16 Artanis I

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 06:15 AM

View PostSvelte, on 30 July 2010 - 04:33 AM, said:

Some of the best designs and worst parts; that's what the late 2000s will be remembered by
I know what you mean, but in 1000 years people will think you mean 2700-2999! Heck knows what Lego will be like then - if it (or English) still exists...

To all EB forum readers in the 30th century and beyond: we mean the last few years of the decade leading up to 2010. Please do not unnecessarily bump this thread 1000 years, haha.
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#17 Fugazi

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 08:52 AM

View PostSvelte, on 30 July 2010 - 04:33 AM, said:

The wording of consulting AFOLs about 'core' colour changes is an interesting one, since they have acknowledged changing colours (such as the pearl grays and gold in 2010) without any particular consultation that I'm aware of. It's political speak, like 'core' and 'non-core' promises :wink:
Indeed. And if TLG has a list of 'untouchables' to protect the core colours, then we have colours that won't be changed because they are locked, and colours that can be changed without consultation because they are non-core. In other words, no need to consult at all! :hmpf_bad:

Ok I know I'm just being a smartass, there could also be core colours that are not locked and TLG will consult about changing those in the future, we'll see.
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#18 davee123

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 02:12 PM

The locked color list:

http://news.lugnet.com/lego/?n=2605

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#19 Fugazi

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 02:39 PM

Very interesting! Allow me to quote Mr McKee:

Quote

Universal Color (aka Locked Color): An evergreen color that would not be changed, dropped, or modified without serious discussion that includes all stakeholders, including adult hobbyists and LEGO Company executive management.
The list is quite long, which is good. Most basic colours are covered, thus protected. Of note though, some relatively widely used colours are not on the list: bright yellowish green (lime), earth green (dark green), dark red, transparent brown (smoke).

All in all a very commendable effort from TLG.
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#20 CP5670

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 04:44 PM

There are some colors on that list that have had more variation within the color than the old and new light grays. As Svelte said, this talk of "universal colors" is simply political speak. All it means is that they can change or vary a color all they want, but they simply won't officially name it a new color anymore. :tongue:

#21 brickzone

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 05:09 PM

My understanding of recent colour "changes", i.e. the small changes in shade in the last 5 years or so (not the grey/bley changeover) was that they were due to a change in the plastic/process, *not* a deliberate colour change.

If you look at some sets with a "mix" of shades for some colours, you can see that frequently used parts are the new shade and less commonly used parts (i.e. any inventory is presumably used up more slowly) are the old shade. The two shades also correlate for example with textured or textureless slopes. So with Café Corner as an example, for the dark red slopes on the top, there are some that are subtly lighter/darker, correlating with smooth vs. textured.

I'm a big fan of recent white bricks as well as primary colours, the slight translucency in the new plastic/process means really bright whites/colours. I'm actually coming close to the stage of considering separating my older white parts and using them only when necessary/useful.

Lego seem to have made very recent bricks (late 2009-present) subtly different again, with slightly less soft/translucent plastic and more regular brick dimensions again - but the colour is almost identical for this latest change - hopefully a final stablisation.

I do have nostalgia for old brown/grey, but I will admit that mostly I prefer working in redbrown/bley. The latter is actually better IMO for castle scenes where the castle is supposed to be from cut stone - as we are not depicting a castle 100s of years old, but rather one recently built (in the context of the knights etc. in the scenes).

Tan is one colour where I find the variations in shade a bit more annoying. Often with what I am building in red-brown, I am depicting wood and the variation doesn't matter as much even if the shades vary more. But tan, it often makes individual bricks stand out where you would prefer to pretend a wall is smooth for example.

Edited by brickzone, 30 July 2010 - 05:10 PM.


#22 davee123

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 06:07 PM

View PostCP5670, on 30 July 2010 - 04:44 PM, said:

There are some colors on that list that have had more variation within the color than the old and new light grays. As Svelte said, this talk of "universal colors" is simply political speak.

As brickzone stated, this has nothing to do with them intentionally changing the colors, or being political. It has to do with LEGO changing its coloring process in roughly 2006-2007.

They used to spend more money on a high-quality system whereby the ABS was colored prior to molding. Hence, since all ABS pieces came from the same batch of ABS pellets, they would all match colors EXCELLENTLY. All the ABS was colored in small pellets from the same source, making everything very uniform. But that means that they had to buy their colors separately, and spend lots of money on storage for pellets of different colors, many of which might not be used for years.

Now, they color the elements during the molding process, which means that each element requires a different formula for color matching. Each color dye behaves differently, and each injection point affects the mold differently. The timing has to be different for each color and each mold. And even then, there's a degree of randomness to each element (pretty minimal) in terms of the particular dynamics of that element at the time of molding. It's INCREDIBLY complex compared to the old system. And as a result, the colors vary-- not just from one part to another, but even within the same individual molded element. But it's cheaper, so LEGO can save money doing it, which is why they're still in business.

It has nothing to do with LEGO actively wanting to change their color palette, and saying "screw what you want, fans". That's not their attitude whatsoever. It's totally involuntary-- it has to do with LEGO no longer being able to maintain their once perfectionist attitude towards quality.

DaveE

Edited by davee123, 30 July 2010 - 06:08 PM.


#23 Brickdoctor

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 06:46 PM

View Postdavee123, on 30 July 2010 - 06:07 PM, said:

As brickzone stated, this has nothing to do with them intentionally changing the colors, or being political. It has to do with LEGO changing its coloring process in roughly 2006-2007.

They used to spend more money on a high-quality system whereby the ABS was colored prior to molding. Hence, since all ABS pieces came from the same batch of ABS pellets, they would all match colors EXCELLENTLY. All the ABS was colored in small pellets from the same source, making everything very uniform. But that means that they had to buy their colors separately, and spend lots of money on storage for pellets of different colors, many of which might not be used for years.

Now, they color the elements during the molding process, which means that each element requires a different formula for color matching. Each color dye behaves differently, and each injection point affects the mold differently. The timing has to be different for each color and each mold. And even then, there's a degree of randomness to each element (pretty minimal) in terms of the particular dynamics of that element at the time of molding. It's INCREDIBLY complex compared to the old system. And as a result, the colors vary-- not just from one part to another, but even within the same individual molded element. But it's cheaper, so LEGO can save money doing it, which is why they're still in business.

It has nothing to do with LEGO actively wanting to change their color palette, and saying "screw what you want, fans". That's not their attitude whatsoever. It's totally involuntary-- it has to do with LEGO no longer being able to maintain their once perfectionist attitude towards quality.

DaveE
Cost comes into the discussion here.
Money, money, money, money, money, money, money. :pir-devil:

I remember this also, and I assume that's what makes the secondarya and tertiaryb colors inconsistent. Take the infamous purple, which is a secondary color; the machine has to get the combination of red and blue exactly right. Reddish brown would be a tertiary color, composed of different amounts of red, yellow, and blue. Grey is nicely consistent because it could be considered a primary color, with the only dye required being black.

a. Secondary colors are composed of 2 of the primary colors.
b. Tertiary colors are composed of 3 of the primary colors.

Edited by Brickdoctor, 30 July 2010 - 06:47 PM.


#24 CP5670

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 07:20 PM

View Postdavee123, on 30 July 2010 - 06:07 PM, said:

As brickzone stated, this has nothing to do with them intentionally changing the colors, or being political. It has to do with LEGO changing its coloring process in roughly 2006-2007.

They used to spend more money on a high-quality system whereby the ABS was colored prior to molding. Hence, since all ABS pieces came from the same batch of ABS pellets, they would all match colors EXCELLENTLY. All the ABS was colored in small pellets from the same source, making everything very uniform. But that means that they had to buy their colors separately, and spend lots of money on storage for pellets of different colors, many of which might not be used for years.

Now, they color the elements during the molding process, which means that each element requires a different formula for color matching. Each color dye behaves differently, and each injection point affects the mold differently. The timing has to be different for each color and each mold. And even then, there's a degree of randomness to each element (pretty minimal) in terms of the particular dynamics of that element at the time of molding. It's INCREDIBLY complex compared to the old system. And as a result, the colors vary-- not just from one part to another, but even within the same individual molded element. But it's cheaper, so LEGO can save money doing it, which is why they're still in business.

It has nothing to do with LEGO actively wanting to change their color palette, and saying "screw what you want, fans". That's not their attitude whatsoever. It's totally involuntary-- it has to do with LEGO no longer being able to maintain their once perfectionist attitude towards quality.

DaveE

Yes, I know about the 2006 change in ABS pellets. However, my point is that it's irrelevant whether a "color change" is intentional or not, or whether the company refers to it as such. I care about the actual bricks I buy, not what TLG internally considers to be color differences.

As for being involuntary, the entire change was a result of intentional cost-cutting practices, so I don't see how you can call it that. I don't quite buy the argument that it was necessary to remain in business. Lego has still maintained its huge price disparity over many clone brands, and they no longer have the clear-cut advantage in color consistency and saturation that they did in the past.

#25 Aanchir

Aanchir

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 08:46 PM

View PostCP5670, on 30 July 2010 - 07:20 PM, said:

Yes, I know about the 2006 change in ABS pellets. However, my point is that it's irrelevant whether a "color change" is intentional or not, or whether the company refers to it as such. I care about the actual bricks I buy, not what TLG internally considers to be color differences.

As for being involuntary, the entire change was a result of intentional cost-cutting practices, so I don't see how you can call it that. I don't quite buy the argument that it was necessary to remain in business. Lego has still maintained its huge price disparity over many clone brands, and they no longer have the clear-cut advantage in color consistency and saturation that they did in the past.
If LEGO didn't do any cost-cutting practices, then the amount LEGO sets would cost would rise even more every year. They still do rise due to inflation, but that's just one of the factors that makes LEGO more expensive to produce and distribute. Oil prices affect both production and distribution, as do steel prices (steel molds are mighty expensive). And both have risen a great deal in the past decade. Also note that before switching to adding their own colors, LEGO was getting their ABS pellets from an external supplier with color already added (if I'm remembering correctly).

LEGO still has a standard of quality, and they adhere to that. But expecting perfection from anyone is unreasonable. Suppose a bad batch of parts came out, and the color was ever so slightly off. Is LEGO supposed to throw out the whole batch? After all, a lot of plastic doesn't like being re-molded, and all that would come out are brittle pieces. So instead, LEGO has in the past decade immensely streamlined their customer service department, creating a very convenient source for replacement parts. In my eyes, that more than makes up for the inconsistencies that are practically inevitable in mass production.

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