Hot off the press, here are the questions we asked, and the answers they gave us:
Where did the idea for the Friends theme come from?
From intensive research with girls around the world for the past 4 years.
We found out that girls are very thrilled with playing out everyday life stories.
Friendship, relationships with friends, animals and family is important to them.
We also found out how important characters are to girls in the play. It is important that there are figures in the products that girls can identify with, and the reason why we have the 5 different LEGO Friends figures with different looks and different personalities in the Universe.
Did you consider using the standard minifigure?
Actually we started with designing models with the existing minifigures, but when we tested with the girls, they kept telling us that they were not appealing to them. And we also realized how important figures are for the girls play. When girls play they project themselves onto the figures they are playing with, making the figure beautiful and feminine means it is easier for the girls to relate to.
How did you come up with the idea and design for the minidoll?
After we found out that the minifigure did not work for most of the girls, we simply started with designing different concepts of figures with different looks and different types of functionality.
We learned that it is a must that figures are beautiful. It was also important to us that the figure had recognizable LEGO DNA. This meant that the figures should have almost the same functionality as the minifugure, but also features like the hands should be recognizably LEGO. The modularity of the figure is also important and girls really like that they can change the figures hair, they like to change the figures parts like torsos and legs so that they can wear different clothes.
Why and how did you choose the colour scheme?
It has been a strategic decision from the very beginning to develop colorful models based on the existing LEGO color palette plus 6 new colors we added so that it would be possible for us to create models with great tone and tone in tone patterns with fresh/bright girly appeal.
We have tested the colour schemes of the models a lot with girls, the colours are another way to make the models beautiful and detailed. Aesthetics are extremely important for girls, and the way we design the models with different colors has to be just right to support the different themes. We also strive to have classic LEGO colours such as the red and the yellow in the models, mixing these with the more qirly palette creates the unique feeling of LEGO Friends models.
Tell us a bit about yourself, what is your role in the Friends team?
Fenella, Senior Designer in the LEGO Friends team, I have worked on model building and element design from the beginning of LEGO Friends. Some of the models I have designed include the Vet, the Camper van, Stephanie’s Car as well as the Riding School. I am English, from the south of England and I studied product design in London at Brunel University.
Rosario, Design Director of LEGO Friends, people manager and art direction focus.
Portuguese, studied Design in Portugal and Denmark. Been working at LEGO for 14 years.
How long have you been working for LEGO? Have you worked in other LEGO departments?
Fenella- Creator, where I was lucky enough to design the Green Car and some of the minis.
Rosario- Belville, Duplo, Creator, Boys Playthemes ( Spider Man, Movie Maker/Steven Speilberg, Monsters), Mindstorms, Technic.
What did you have in mind for each character?
As mentioned above, the characters have been designed based on lots of inputs from girls around the world through intensive research. We know that it is important to give girls the choice to play out stories with different types of characters that they can either identify with or play with. The characters have different personalities, likes and dislikes, just like girls in the real world.
Which Friends character best encapsulates you?
Fenella – In my work life I relate to Emma as she loves the details and designing. Outside of work I relate to Stephanie as I love baking cakes and arranging parties for my friends!
Rosario- actually all of them, because there is always something in each character personality that I like or can identify with.
What is your vision for Friends?
LEGO Friends will be a classic product line within the LEGO portfolio for many years to come, just like LEGO City.
So yes, we are planning new LEGO Friends products, but I cannot tell you what it will be ☺ I am sure you understand.
Eurobricks would like to say a BIG thank you to both Fenella and Rosario for kindly answering our questions, and also a big thank you to Jan Beyer for putting us in contact with them for the interview.