Post 9: Building Imagination

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Since 1932, the Lego Group has set its sights to be the world’s largest company of imagination and creativity. Ole Kirk Christiansen founded the company, deriving the name “Lego” from the Danish words “leg godt,” meaning “play well.” The word “lego also means “I connect” in Italian, and “I put together” in Latin. This widespread, meaningful term “Lego” was sure to last throughout the years, and as of 2014, Lego Group has achieved their goal of being the world’s largest toy manufacturer, surpassing competitors such as Hasbro and Mattel. After years of attempting other materials and combinations, the Lego Group came to what is seen in the image above – the patented design of colored, interlocking bricks.

In the four subsets of the advertisement above, simple combinations of standard-sized Lego bricks are visible. These combinations are crude, with only four bricks maximum used in their creations – however, in the shadows there are representations of what may be seen in each of the combinations by someone with imagination and creativity, Lego Group’s trademark sales points. It is key to note that there are purposely minimum amounts of bricks in the pictures, as it has been evidenced that small numbers of bricks result in more use of the imagination.

On Lego Education’s website, statistics about the bricks themselves can be found – one of these statistics states that with only six eight-stud LEGO bricks (sized 2×4) the number of combinations between them reach 915,103,765. This means that with six bricks, there are 915,103,765 different ways for one to use their imagination and creativity. This statistic continues to say that with only two of the 2×4 bricks, there are 24 combinations, and that using three 2×4 bricks exponentially expands the possibilities to 1,060.

While Lego Group’s focus group branches in many different subsets and directions, its main audience is children. In the example of the advertisement above, there are indicators of this: a dinosaur, a plane, a military tank and a boat. These objects are examples of what children think of when they use their imagination – different times, places and adventures to embark upon and discover. Yet in this image, there is another indicator of the Lego Group – until recently, males were targeted more often than females, and this is one of the first gender-conciencious images put forth by the company. The Lego Group’s run-ins with inaccessibility to females were finally put to the test in 2011, following its release of the “Lego Friends” product line, at which time the company was sued for stereotyping women and their societal roles. This resulted in the refined “Research Institute” product line, in which females could play with Lego mini figures of a chemist, astronomer and a paleontologist. Realizing their faults, the Lego Group also launched Disney Princess mini figure sets to mirror Marvel Superheroes mini figures, as well as sets with both gender mini figures included.

After almost a century of the Lego Group’s existence, the family-owned business has undergone many changes, just as its audience has. However, it has always been the goal of the Lego Group to bring together creativity, imagination and logic via interlocking possibilities. At this, the company has never faltered, and the image above represents the very dreams and inspirations for their success.