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What education do I need to become a LEGO designer?


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#1 Dr.SupaNova

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 02:33 PM

Hello
My dream is be able to create sophiscated and nice looking LEGO models :)
so I sent LEGO an email and they told me that it would be helpful if you have art, design, engineering background.

But What kind of engineering are they refering to?

peece!

#2 Zorro

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 02:58 PM

View PostDr.SupaNova, on Apr 28 2009, 04:33 PM, said:

Hello
My dream is be able to create sophiscated and nice looking LEGO models :)
so I sent LEGO an email and they told me that it would be helpful if you have art, design, engineering background.

But What kind of engineering are they refering to?

peece!
Industrial Designer/Engineer probably.
You would need to learn about materials and their capacities.
Another thing Industrial Engineers learn would be designing industrial blueprints.
But being imaginative and having a lot of fantasy will be very useable too!

#3 Algernon

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 03:45 PM

Depends on what kind of LEGO Designer you want to be. At LEGO Futuron they examine marketing trends to determine what kind of new theme will sell in the future. You'll have to know how to do that if you want to work for Futuron. LEGOLAND designers know about sculpture and have degrees in the fine arts. The graphic designers who draw the designs for the minifigs and stickers are simply graphic designers.

There's more than one way to get into the LEGO company.

#4 CP5670

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 04:53 PM

There was an interview posted here at some point with a guy who designed many of the late 80s Space sets. Apparently he only had a high school diploma.

If you want to design sets, I don't think you need much in the way of an engineering background, except maybe for Technic models. Artistic skill would be more important.

#5 Algernon

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 05:29 PM

Like any job in a creative field, you'll have to know how to build what LEGO wants you too. And LEGO wants you to build something that will sell. This means you'll have to cram your beloved creation full of flick-fire missiles and stickers. One of the most important skills that you can learn, and is applicable to pretty much and artistic job, is the ability to give a client what they're looking for, even if you don't like it. Suppose LEGO Futuron says that a Dino Attack 2 would sell well in 2018. Well, it's time to roll out the concept art and give your boss something he thinks will appeal to kids. Your models will be tested for their play factor and you'll have to change many things before it's done. LEGO will probably care more about structural integrity and playability than they will about aesthetics.

#6 The Who

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 10:28 PM

View PostDr.SupaNova, on Apr 28 2009, 02:33 PM, said:

But What kind of engineering are they refering to?

Probably like structural engineering, or something of the sort.

I also hope to become a set designer or model maker someday, and I can say that artistic skill and architechtural (is that a word?) engineering are two very important factors in those kind of jobs.

In cases like mine, a little OCD every here and there helps majorly. :tongue:
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#7 Front

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 10:37 PM

TLC is a cool place to work, and all kind of different skills are needed, depending on what position your in. Even narrowing it down to the traditional Lego designer, the job is quite different weather it's a Technic, Bionicle or City designer. Designing sets is not just about making something that's cool, it's more about producing a set that is a specific toy for a specific target group. A lot of work is put into using building technics that is appropiate for the target group, and this means putting a set together, that in most cases can be handled by 5-9 year old kids. Designing a set can be quite tedious, building something again and again with slight variations, until it's as perfect as it gets.

I think it's very unwise to select a career based on a specific job you would like in a specific company. Rather choose an education the seems interesting and where you feel you already got talent, or at least like to explore a talent. Everybody got talent.

I think most new Lego designers are young people that just completed an education at some design school, without any particular experience with building Lego. They are probably interested in working in Billund because they think TLC has good values, is a good workplace, and produce products that does bring pleasure to kids. I hardly think anyone has a chance saying:
ok, I built this and that with bricks, used a lot of tiles, kind of cool ehh ?
and then have even a remote chance of getting a job. Getting a job is about specific skills, but it's just as much or probably more about having social skills, being able to work in a group, performing a task over a longer time period, aiming and meeting a set goal.

Do you like sketching, do you like to spend time thinking how products can be made and designed ? And then doing it. Then maybe a design school could be for you. But don't expect to get a job at Lego. I'm an engineer, more specifically got a Master of Science degree in Mechanical engineering, specialised in multibody dynamics, stuff that could be used in vehicle and robotic design, and I liked the idea about getting a job at Ducati or Ferrari. Kind of still do. But I did not choose to study this with the sole aim to get such a job. It's just not realistic. I don't use much of what I've learnt in school in my job, but I enjoy modelling with CAD tools, and is quite good at it. I've used and honed that skill, and now am in my third job, which happens to be at Lego.

I say all this without much knowledge about designers career and their educations, and there are probably a lot of designers at Lego that haven't much specific education targeted at design. But if you like designing, get an education in that field.

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Edited by Front, 28 April 2009 - 10:39 PM.


#8 Lego64

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 11:01 PM

Hello! What did you end up studying? I have a son who has the exact same dream. Greatly appreciate your input.

#9 Brickdoctor

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 03:30 AM

I'm surprised that no one's mentioned computer skills. I'm pretty sure one of the requirements for some of the jobs is being able to use CAD.

#10 Aanchir

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 02:33 PM

Another thing I've read multiple places is that to become a LEGO designer of any sort it can be a good idea to first do something to get your foot in the door. In other words, if you can get a job with LEGO and stand out as good at what you do, you'll have a much better chance of being noticed if you later apply for a design job. From what I've read, that's what Jamie Berard tried to do before he was hired as a LEGO designer. And Kelly McKiernan, one of the former webmasters of the BIONICLE website BZPower, was able to take advantage of his web-design experience-- he is now in charge of various LEGO websites, including the LEGO Hero Factory website. It's not a design job, but it's the career that suited his personal skillset and interests.

With this in mind, it could be a good idea to just pursue your own personal interests and then look for job openings of any sort that apply to those interests. Even if you don't get that design job you want, being employed by the company you love could be conducive to your LEGO hobby!

Personally, I'm aiming to be a LEGO designer of some sort, and have been for a long time. It's one of those things that as you grow up you think will be a silly childhood dream you'll look back on and laugh, and then just as you start your career search you'll start seeing things you didn't expect to see: how LEGO is one of the top companies to work for in terms of employee benefits, how other AFOLs have actually managed to find employment as LEGO designers, and how your own particular skills (in my case, math and design) could be a great benefit in pursuing a degree that you think could help get you noticed.

Currently, I'm in a two-year school and looking to transfer somewhere that would have good engineering or design programs. My twin brother has already isolated a few potentially good schools for himself, including one that happens to have specific courses in toy design. And overall, I feel very optimistic about the prospects of at least gaining the skills a product designer needs, if not actually finding my way into that particular line of work.

EDIT: Why does the word filter change the full form of the word "math" or "maths" to "testicles"? :wacko:

Edited by Aanchir, 23 April 2011 - 02:35 PM.

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#11 dr jones

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 01:12 PM

View PostAanchir, on 23 April 2011 - 02:33 PM, said:


EDIT: Why does the word filter change the full form of the word "math" or "maths" to "testicles"? :wacko:

Cause one of the mods and/or admins always failed his tests and wants to take revenge.  :laugh:
we're all a litle mad here
especially me. Our class:
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#12 Hinckley

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 03:11 PM

View PostAanchir, on 23 April 2011 - 02:33 PM, said:

EDIT: Why does the word filter change the full form of the word "math" or "maths" to "testicles"? :wacko:
Why not? They're synonymous, right? :wacko:

:blush: Sorry, it was a joke filter I forgot to remove. Thanks for using the word "mathematics" and drawing my attention to it. You may now freely say "mathematics." Sorry about that. :laugh:

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#13 decalmania

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 08:28 PM

View PostBrickdoctor, on 23 April 2011 - 03:30 AM, said:

I'm surprised that no one's mentioned computer skills. I'm pretty sure one of the requirements for some of the jobs is being able to use CAD.
some of this information im using for a report due for school thank you all this is really helping...also i saw the interview about the guy who designed the late 80s space sets but would you need a bachelors degree to get very high in the LEGO company?

#14 davee123

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 09:13 PM

View PostAlgernon, on 28 April 2009 - 05:29 PM, said:

LEGO Futuron

BTW, the design group at LEGO is "LEGO Futura", not "Futuron"-- Futuron is the space subtheme from the late 1980's :)

There are a lot of design jobs at LEGO, of course:

- Set Designer - That means you're designing the actual construction of the sets that are going to be released. From my understanding, much of the time you're given specific tasks like "Design a farm vehicle based on these pictures". Some groups (like Creator) have a little more open-ended freedom to build whatever strikes your fancy.

- Concept Designer - This is more like what LEGO Futura works on. They come up with concept ideas like "Hey, let's make a theme were there are UFO's trying to attack Earth!" or "Let's make a theme where a zany professor travels through time!" My wife worked for them, and has told me about a few things she did while there, which was very open-ended, but boiled down to "Do something for kids age 2-4 involving constructing music!"

- Master Designer - These are the folks that design models for public expositions, store windows, and so forth. They build a lot of different one-off models (usually glued), and sometimes design for other specialty projects for the company.  Sometimes it's sculpture, sometimes it's minifig-scale, sometimes microfig-scale, etc.

- Master Builders - Supposedly these are the folks that build LOTS OF COPIES of what's been designed for them already. So the Master Designer might design a 4-foot SpongeBob model, and the army of Master Builders get to build 300 copies of them to get distributed in stores worldwide. However, there's also some crossover with the name that's attributed to people that work in the LEGOLAND theme parks. They get to repair and sometimes design models that get displayed at the parks. They also have to deal with the public a lot, talking to kids, judging contests, etc.

There's also all sorts of other creative jobs like element design, general product design, web design, game design, printed media design (catalogs, boxes, magazines, instructions, etc), and tons more.

Getting these jobs means basically impressing the folks at LEGO with what you can do. There's no one particular field that you ought to research, but in general you want to have experience doing design work in physical media.

DaveE

#15 r1chard

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 06:25 AM

i guess architecture/interior design/civil engineer.. but mostly just an unending lego addiction will do.

#16 prateek

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 06:46 AM

As Aanchir said, you need to stick to your hobby, and if you're lucky enough, your chance will come. As for formal education, it's all been said before, just design. BTW, Aanchir, you could easily be Lego's new colour checker-person :grin:

View PostHinckley, on 25 April 2011 - 03:11 PM, said:

:blush: Sorry, it was a joke filter I forgot to remove. Thanks for using the word "mathematics" and drawing my attention to it. You may now freely say "mathematics." Sorry about that. :laugh:
:laugh:

#17 johnny cogs

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 09:42 AM

My best guess would be to study product design initially, as this covers many bases including market trending, technical drawing and the use of CAD systems....

Just a thought.... Plus an outstanding photo cv of MOC's wouldn't do you any harm! =)
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#18 Pingles

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 04:46 PM

I'd also like to add that each time you go for a job you have to imagine all of the OTHER people trying out for the job.  What will make YOU stand out?

Lots of times it will come down to 3 or 4 reasonably close candidates.  The one with the higher education will usually win out just for showing the follow-through to complete a degree along with the hopes that the degree will bring some kind of added value to their work.

I have done very well for myself with no education but I know there are jobs that I missed out on because of the lack of a degree.  I have even been told that by interviewers.  One job was on a research ship for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.  I had a friend who worked there and he told me that EVERY resume they had was a PhD except for me.  :D
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#19 Johnterry807

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 04:09 PM

Hi,
I am also very interested in this subject, but the reference is very limited. You can share documents as well as experience? Thanks!

If you want to get more materials that related to this topic, you can visit: Railroad engineer job description
Best regards.

Edited by Johnterry807, 28 July 2011 - 03:56 PM.


#20 22kane

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 08:15 PM

View PostCP5670, on 28 April 2009 - 04:53 PM, said:

There was an interview posted here at some point with a guy who designed many of the late 80s Space sets. Apparently he only had a high school diploma.

If you want to design sets, I don't think you need much in the way of an engineering background, except maybe for Technic models. Artistic skill would be more important.

Sometimes it's all about who you know. Networking is one of the best ways to obtain a job. The above comment happens quite often in many working environments where many high school graduates are surrounded by colleagues with degrees. Again, it's all about who you know.
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#21 CP5670

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Posted 19 July 2011 - 09:04 PM

Quote

Sometimes it's all about who you know. Networking is one of the best ways to obtain a job. The above comment happens quite often in many working environments where many high school graduates are surrounded by colleagues with degrees. Again, it's all about who you know.

That's certainly true. In fact, I got my job by meeting someone at a conference and they created a position for me. I had applied for some other jobs on the company's website earlier and was ignored. :tongue:

Quote

I have done very well for myself with no education but I know there are jobs that I missed out on because of the lack of a degree. I have even been told that by interviewers. One job was on a research ship for the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. I had a friend who worked there and he told me that EVERY resume they had was a PhD except for me. :D

Well, research jobs do generally require that (sometimes a Masters is enough but it's harder to move up). As far as Lego design goes though, I doubt academic backgrounds matter much. I would think a strong art portfolio (not necessarily Lego) or work experience in similar roles would be valuable, and contacts within the company always help. As someone else said, you can also work for the company in many other capacities. Their current postings show a wide variety of positions apart from set designers.

#22 tkcmdr

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 07:49 PM

Dear Dr.SupaNova,

You may need a degree in civil engineering to become a designer. Being able to know what to use, and when to use it, in terms of architecture, helps as well.

I would have no doubt someone with a degree in civil engineering would be quite likely to get a job in areas such as going over designs, or even, get you a job in manufacturing!

Hope this helps!

Yours Truly,
TKCMDR

Edited by tkcmdr, 02 August 2013 - 07:53 PM.


#23 dhc6twinotter

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 07:01 AM

Anybody know what the salary for a LEGO designer is?

#24 Hey Joe

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Posted 08 September 2013 - 07:37 AM

View Postdhc6twinotter, on 08 September 2013 - 07:01 AM, said:

Anybody know what the salary for a LEGO designer is?

They get paid?  Ha ha, seriously, I read somewhere (sorry, but I don't remember where) that the pay "isn't generous".  That's all I know, hope it helps.

Joe

Edited by Hey Joe, 08 September 2013 - 09:38 AM.

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