Brick by brick: Behind the scenes at Lego

From canny collaborations to a deep understanding of how kids interact digitally, Lego has evolved from a physical toy brand to an entertainment juggernaut – all while keeping the humble brick at the heart of what it does

Happy 90th birthday to Lego, the company that started life in Billund, Denmark, in 1932, with the simple ambition of creating brilliant children’s toys, and has grown into a multi­faceted media, entertainment and toy brand – the most valuable toy brand in the world.

The brand has come a long way from its first line of small wooden toys, now releasing hugely popular movie and TV tie-in sets, recreations of world-famous architecture, and sell-out Lego bonsai trees, as well as designing apps and video games, and producing a movie franchise and an international reality TV show featuring master builders. And earlier this year, Lego announced it was partnering with Epic Games to shape the metaverse of the future for children.

The brand has made a remarkable comeback from the late 90s, when it recorded its first ever loss, which was followed by a ­series of rocky years, including a disastrous 2004, which saw Lego’s biggest loss to date.

Fortunately, there was plenty to salvage. Lego went back to basics, focusing on key ranges and reconnecting with children and how they experience the bricks. As the digital age dawned, the company launched new products and apps, leveraged social media, and opened itself up to the possibilities of crowdsourcing new products, via Lego Ideas, and inviting people to propose new content and stories using Lego World Builder.

Photograph of a child holding up a Lego figurine overhead
Super Robot from Lego’s Creator 3-in-1 series. All images courtesy Lego

DESIGNER

LONDON