The unofficial secondhand market for bricks – Bricklink – has teamed up with LEGO itself for what’s being called the “AFOL Designer Program“, which may see up to 20 fan-created designs being turned into sets.
This unique system has three distinct stages: a submission process, crowdfunding, and then a final release.
The submissions open later this month, 18th September, and run until 18th October this year – just a single month. From there a LEGO design team will go through all the entries and choose up to 20 designs that they like which meet the set requirements.
Next these choices will be crowdfunded by the community. We’re not sure what the exact pricing here will be, but we imagine it will depend heavily on the size of the chosen sets. This process will start in February 2019.
Finally, if everything goes to plan, the finished product will ship out in April 2019. These will be limited 60th anniversary sets only available on Bricklink.
All of this is very strange but interesting at the same time. LEGO already has their Ideas platform that turns fan creations into official sets, but those are much more time consuming to work through the process of becoming sets. This seems like a more streamlined process focused on the adult community.
Another strange factor here is Bricklink itself. We’re not entirely sure why a secondhand market for individual pieces is involved with new, boxed sets, but we’re happy to see LEGO acknowledging a service many fans have found invaluable.
The final twist is Studio 2.0, an unofficial piece of software (originally called Stud.io) that lets you build anything you want using virtual bricks in a CAD-like environment. All submissions for the AFOL Designer Program have to be submitted as files created in Studio 2.0.
Again, this is odd as LEGO themselves offer pared down software with a similar function in LEGO Digital Designer (LDD).
All of that aside however, we’re extremely excited to see how this goes and we’re hoping that shipping to South Africa isn’t too expensive.