Career tips for a budding young LEGO designer
February 21, 2018 8:52 AM   Subscribe

My Canadian friend’s 9 year old kid dreams of becoming a professional LEGO designer when he grows up. What advice towards achieving this do you have for him and his supporters ? (This would include ideas involving activities outside the LEGO-verse too of course ) Thanks very much for any tips!!!
posted by zresearch to Education (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Learn CAD tools.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:19 AM on February 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Art classes, and if you want to get even more specific sculpting. Reading about Lego Master Builders, most of them have an Art background.

Make sure that other mediums are available besides Lego, and see how they can relate to using Lego.

Creative writing - being able to create settings and environments in you mind, and then try to build things that relate to the story.

I am 48 and I love Lego (I have loved Lego all my life). I have a significant collection. I am way too analytical to just build on my own (I can do it, but it is not relaxing like following the instructions).

There are building contests going on through different sites: REBRICK.COM is one that I know about. Participate in them. Look at what other people are doing.

For the parents, be prepared to store the collection when the child gets to High School, until they get out on their own - DO NOT SELL the collection (thanks Mom).
posted by bonofasitch at 9:33 AM on February 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

I would also consider roles related to education and group facilitation as well as architect:

- People that offer Lego training, education, summer camps, maker type places (often have a technology teacher, programmer/robotics/etc type background)
- Serious Play Lego facilitator (business consultant, trainer, etc)
posted by typecloud at 9:50 AM on February 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Learn to speak Danish.
posted by bondcliff at 10:15 AM on February 21, 2018 [4 favorites]

Nine is too young, but as the kid gets older, make sure he utilizes social media to show off his creations, and to stay up on what other enthusiasts are doing.

The most important thing for any ambitious creative is to find a mentor who can provide constructive (no pun intended) criticism and challenge him to move beyond his comfort zone. Think of it like sports: it's fine to coach your own kid's tee ball team, but as the kid gets older and displays some potential, you'll want more professional coaches with experience in the sport and a record of developing talent. Likewise, this kid's parents probably aren't good enough to distinguish between "I'm so proud of you" and "that was good but it could have been better". Having someone to provide that feedback is what will take it from a hobby to a paying job.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:46 AM on February 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

My question, previously.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:43 AM on February 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

He's 9, and I think the worst thing any parent can do is pigeonhole him or work too hard to create structure around what he loves to do. Just buy the kid lots of Legos and allow him time and space to build. Provide opportunities to explore related skills - other construction kits, carpentry, electronics, automotive, etc. He's at an age where feeding his imagination is more important than building skills, because he'll work on those skills anyway if he's interested.
posted by Unsomnambulist at 3:08 PM on February 21, 2018 [2 favorites]

TBH, LEGO designer seems to be a shitty job. But as an ambition when you are nine, it's probably fine — what you dream of at nine can develop into all sorts of stuff and anyway we don't even know what lego will be in 20 years. For industrial design, you need to be really, really good at drawing and modelling. Some think that those old-time skills aren't necessary in today's digital environments, but now we are + twenty years into digital design tools and they are ever greater, but the succesfull designers still depend on hand sketching and physical models. Luckily, these are fun activities for boys and girls. Lego itself is great for training modelling, but maybe train sets or model planes (or whatever) is a good next step. Drawing stuff like cartoons, cars, planes, spaceships, buildings etc are all good. In my experience, todays schools don't value visual competencies much, and as a parent, you need to support and reassure your kid for them to keep on drawing and building and imagining stuff, because the general culture goes against it.
When I was a kid, there was this idea that a certain percentage of each class would need to have drawing and making skills so they could go on to have technical jobs or construction jobs. But with the faulty assumption that that is all now computerized, the schools have more or less abandoned that responsibility, and I meet a lot of kids who are struggling with this.
posted by mumimor at 3:21 PM on February 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

My niece has similar tendencies - she isn't aiming for "professional LEGO designer", but she likes making stuff and is in a family of crafty maker types. Her parents have just been giving her a lot of opportunities to explore and make things. Craft materials like twist ties, Playdoh, wooden blocks, paper & art tools are aplenty and they regularly get together to make little projects. There's a science-museum-like place near their house that they go to often - does such a facility exist near you?
posted by divabat at 3:31 PM on February 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the great answers, everyone - I’ll pass them on (And more welcome, of course!)
posted by zresearch at 7:19 AM on February 22, 2018

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