Brand Standards: What makes an appropriate LEGO product?

Ever since we announced that the Winchester, and now the Firefly Serenity playset did not pass the LEGO Review, there has been some speculation about how we will handle various LEGO CUUSOO projects that skirt the line of the LEGO brand standards.

The LEGO Company sells construction toys for builders of all ages. Over the last ten-plus years, LEGO products for teens and adults have proven very popular, including LEGO Mindstorms, the UCS series, and the LEGO Direct Exclusives to name a few. Adult builders create incredible models that reflect their passions and interests. As the LEGO Company creates products for an older audience, we takes great care to ensure that everything we produce is appropriate for children and the parents who trust us.

LEGO CUUSOO has opened the floor for you to submit product concepts to us that we can consider for production. As of March 29, all new projects are first held in a queue and approved by a moderator before being posted to the site. We’re able to catch a lot more things this way, but some things are not obvious on the surface and we can’t give every project a thorough review. Projects that are obviously over the line will be caught, but some will inevitably pass through.

Our team is very aware that some potentially inappropriate projects remain active on the site; most of those projects were posted before we began approving new projects. We’re in the process of examining questionable projects and removing the inappropriate ones. This will take some time. Look forward to updates in the coming weeks that refine the Guidelines and House Rules as we work to communicate more clearly what is acceptable and not. Understand that we will not produce products that are related to these topics:

  • Politics and political symbols
  • Religious references including symbols, buildings, or people
  • Sex, drugs, or smoking
  • Alcohol in any present day situation
  • Swearing
  • Death, killing, blood, terrorism, or torture
  • First-person shooter video games
  • Warfare or war vehicles in any situation post-WWII to present
  • Racism, bullying, or cruelty to real life animals

The determination of how a project fits these above standards will be at our discretion. There’s always a chance that something will be approved, then removed from the site after being reviewed in greater depth, or not approved during the LEGO Review stage for projects that achieve 10,000 supporters.

Conversely, there are plenty of LEGO product ideas that appeal to older fans and do not skirt these lines. Our advice is to stick to what’s safe. Remember, some things are more appropriate for you to build with your own bricks and share online yourself. There are many great ideas out there, but not all make appropriate official LEGO products.

As always, best wishes with your LEGO CUUSOO projects!

17 thoughts on “Brand Standards: What makes an appropriate LEGO product?

  1. Can you at least reconsider locking comments on ‘archived’ (rejected) projects, and allow them to be searchable? I feel that discussions on these matters should be allowed to continue on the comments pages for these items, and would at the very least help reinforce the standards you lay down. Also, allowing them to be searchable prevents others putting forth the effort to recreate the project, as they can see it was already done and subsequently rejected…

  2. I voted for the Serenity set, and I’m very sad to see it not get approved for review. But I have to ask this, Firefly is, let’s not kid ourselves, a violent show at times with questionable content. The Lego Company made an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom set. That movie has, arguable, more extreme content than Firefly. If you could make Temple of Doom work, then why can’t Firefly work?

  3. I made of of the firefly projects that was canceled by this update. I did a LOT of research of Firefly and in the end I agree with Lego’s decision (based on their reasoning). People like to compare Indiana Jones & Star Wars Lego to Firefly but there are some very significant issues. First off Indiana Jones and Star Wars are part of American and even Global culture and have been for decades. That goes a LONG way toward making people comfortable with any content within it. Second, even though Firefly was on TV…it was rated TV-14…that is worse than PG13. The show is deep seated in Grey Morality…it is what makes the show so good for mature audiences. Watch Firefly again (who wouldn’t want to do that anyway) and really pay attention to how bad things get in the show. Think about it like you are going to show Firefly to a classroom full of 11 year olds and think about what you need to cut out to make it appropriate for them…Then watch The Indiana Jones movies and give them the same treatment.

  4. I think the harder issue that Cuusoo will have to deal with is that their target audience is 6-11 but you need to be 13 years or older to vote. So any project has to be awesome enough to get 10k votes from a target audience that is of an entirely different mentality than the target consumer.

  5. I can see why the Winchester wouldn’t make it, but there’s more than enough escapist appeal in Firefly for the younger generation. There’s nothing so overtly adult in its themes that would mean it doesn’t warrant the attention paid to some of your more commercial successes, which (as mentioned previously by creator8979, not to mention Star Wars) feature many of the same themes you have apparently rejected Firefly for using (death, killing, blood etc.), so I’m afraid I really can’t see your logic.

  6. I can understand wanting to provide appropriate subject matter in regards to the products you produce, but this is a fairly large double standard when you look at the other products created.Take the entirety if the Marvel Universe, even the DC Universe, and I’m fairly certain each and every one of those above listed topics take place and are addressed.Even if you were to ignore the source materials and focus only on the theatrical releases, which the merchandise is riding, the recent Avengers sets, based on the movie, which is created from Iron Man 1&2, Thor, and Captain America also include quite a few of those topics.I agree that these franchises have followings that may make them more deserving of an "okay" than a "not okay", but that doesn’t change the above facts.In the same vein, in regards to the Firefly Serenity set, could you not possibly release the set as a design from the Serenity Motion Picture, not Firefly the TV show, as it is based on the original content, but does not feature most of the objectionable content (the same way the Marvel films are in regards to the Marvel comics as a whole, and the Avengers film to I.M.1&2, Thor, and C.A.)

  7. This makes absolutely no sense, Lego. You created entire lines of sets based on Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Batman, all PG-13 or HIGHER franchises. But now you freak out every time anything on Cuusoo that actually makes it to 10k supporters isn’t G-rated?Why don’t you just be honest with us? In the end, you don’t like fan-projects based on franchises when they make better sets than you would. Minecraft only succeeded because it was the owners of Minecraft themselves who approached you to do it, and as for the Japanese sets, both are based off real life objects.If you’re really going to stick to your guns, you’ll throw out Back to the Future because the third movie has people getting shot, and Zelda because of all the bad guys who get stabbed all the time. And you’ll also cancel the Lord of the Rings line. And the Star Wars line. And the Batman line. And the Castle line, after all, we can’t have those poor Orcs getting killed…and the City line, because those poor robbers will get eaten by the bear or set on fire in the forest, and that certainly isn’t PG! And the Hero Factory line, all those bad guys shooting at each other, that’s not good for our kids…Don’t try to justify this crap.

  8. I would like to ask LEGO to give us some specific reasons why Indiana Jones sets fit within the brand standards and Firefly/Serenity doesn’t.It’s possible to focus on the adventure aspects of Indiana Jones in making sets for kids, but it doesn’t change the fact that in the movies, people are tortured and killed, often in gruesome and graphically-depicted ways, and Indiana Jones himself even seriously injures or kills many people. There are also elements of sex and profanity, drugs, smoking, religious references, and blood. The most recent Indiana Jones movie is post World War II, and one LEGO set for that movie includes an army Jeep, which is technically a war vehicle.If the LEGO Group considers Indiana Jones sets to be a mistake / doesn’t fit the current standards / wouldn’t be made today, that’s absolutely fine, the rules then make sense, but at the moment the information we’ve been given makes it appear that the rules are enforced arbitrarily, or are suspended if the license is popular enough.A Serenity set could equally focus on the adventure aspects without exposing kids to the more mature elements of the series. "It’s cowboys! In space! How cool is that?"More explanation please!

  9. i’m glad that Lego has finally come out and said WHAT in Firefly made them make this decision. It’s nice for them to be honest. Now, they just need to be a little more honest and acknowledge that they are already producing sets that break their guidelines. I’ll go ahead and give you Star Wars, but let’s look at Lord of the Rings. and then look at the above list of content that is "inappropriate" and cannot be allowed to be connected to their products. Now back to Lord of the Rings. Now to Lego’s upcoming "Battle of Helm’s Deep" set. …am I the only one seeing the problem here? "Death, killing, blood, terrorism, or torture" aren’t allowed, and yet they’re making a set specifically based on a long, bloody, death match between gruesome monsters and sword toting soldiers. Lego is already violating their own rules. and they get around it by just rating the set for a higher age group. why can’t they do that in this situation? if you’re going to make any sets that represent IPs that aren’t appropriate for kids, then you can make others. it’s one way or the other. double standards are not going to go down well with the fans, Lego. and before anyone says the LotR is OK because it’s obviously fantasy, I’d like to point out that the set we’re petitioning for here is a SPACE SHIP. Firefly is science FICTION. it’s not like we actually HAVE companions here on earth. part of the whole deal with Inara is underlining how DIFFERENT prostitution is considered in this universe. The series is hardly set in a realistic, present day setting. It’s just as removed from reality as any fantasy, including LotR

  10. One other quick thought:"Religious references including symbols, buildings, or people."How does this square with the LEGO Architecture site, which asks us to vote on our favorite building, out of ten choices, three of which are religious in nature?Also, isn’t it a bit incongruous to see that listed along with sex, drugs, torture etc as being forbidden topics? Yes, I totally understand how religion is a touchy subject, especially in a multinational brand that covers areas of the world with widely varying religions, but I still think that buildings like Notre Dame (or the Dome of the Rock, or Kinkaku-Ji, or whatever) would be great additions, either at microscale like the LEGO Architecture line, or at larger scale like the Taj Mahal/Statue of Liberty/Eiffel Tower sets.

  11. I’d think some of the other themes in Firefly would be a bigger objection. The smuggling maybe not. But the cannibals, human torture and experimentation, rampant prostitution. These I can see LEGO not wanting to go near.Let’s be clear, I love Firefly, but it’s not kid’s fare.

  12. I would like to ask LEGO for specific examples of how the Indiana Jones sets are within the brand standards, and Firefly/Serenity is not.It’s easy to focus on the adventure aspects of Indiana Jones when making sets for kids, but it doesn’t change the fact that the movies have people being tortured and killed, often in gruesome and graphically-depicted ways, and in fact Indiana Jones himself is responsible for seriously injuring or killing many people. There’s also sexual references, smoking, drinking, drugs, religious material, swearing, and blood.With the release of the most recent Indiana Jones movie, which is set in post-WWII times, there’s even a LEGO set which includes an army Jeep – which is a war vehicle.If LEGO now believes that Indiana Jones sets were a mistake / don’t fit the current brand standards / wouldn’t be produced today, then that’s fine, the rules make sense, but at the moment it appears as though the rules are applied arbitrarily, or are suspended entirely if the license is popular enough.It would be equally easy to focus on the adventure aspects of Serenity while making a LEGO set, without exposing kids to the more mature elements. "It’s cowboys! In space! How cool is that?!"More explanation please, LEGO!

  13. "Death, killing, blood, terrorism, or torture"Star Wars has EVERY LAST ONE of these.It also has mass murder, sadism, enslavement, blatant sexual overtones involving a lecherous, perverted slugman slobbering all over slavegirls in metal dresses, decapitation, bloody, grotesque dismemberment…If you’re going to try and make up garbage about standards? FOLLOW THEM FIRST.

  14. Let’s be honest here…They did not want to make a Shawn of the Dead set because it would theoretically compete with their upcoming Lego Monster Fighters line which does *gasp* include a zombie.They didn’t want to make a Serenity/Firefly set because it would theoretically compete against Star Wars. After all, you can’t have two IPs based on popular franchises in space.Really what this seems to tell me is that unless it is a completely original idea, an idea for a set based off of an already acquired IP, or based off of something real…then there is no reason to post it on this website and hope that Lego will create it.To the creators of the Winchester and Serenity…I suggest you make a website, create some instructions with what bricks are needed, and sell them yourselves. I think that fans like myself would pay for a set of blueprints to build our own models.And to Lego…what a joke your criteria is. As stated before you already sell, sold, and plan to sell products that violate your very reasons behind canceling the Winchester and Serenity. But it seems that since those products have the backing of huge Hollywood powerhouses, you can justify making them and selling them to your target audience.

  15. As of now I’ll stop following @LEGO_CUUSOO since that recent view on both brand treason mixed with corporate bullshit will make the cusoo website very boring anyway. Getting people to vote only for stuff pre-screened and deemed ‘appropriate’ from rules that are breached on an everyday basis by TLG violates the very core idea of cusoo. Bye bye, I am guessing you TLG guys just got your democratic views trumped by your own success. 13+ yo will now get to vote on 6-11 products, wow, what a thrill!

  16. LEGO, I for one thank you for being a company willing to crack open the door to the possibility of direct consumer input. Working in a consumer products manufacturing company myself I know how hard it is to handle getting your planned product SKU’s out the door on time, much less leaving room in the schedule to allow for direct consumer ideas.I appreciate the fact that you allow the vast army of AFOL’s and the teens and youths who use your products every day to throw their wildest imaginings up on your site and have have them reviewed by LEGO staff; something which I imagine takes a lot of time and energy to do right.Please keep reviewing the ideas that come through CUUSOO, many of them make me smile and I have even tried to build a few on my own. Thanks for letting this community share. To those who think LEGO is being unfair, please remember this is a private family owned business and they have to take a lot of elements into consideration before commercializing a product, probably much more so than a publicly owned corporation. Give them some slack and spend less time griping online and more time playing with your bricks.

  17. I wonder why the religious symbols from Indiana Jones didn’t disqualify it. The Ark of The Covenant is pretty big. And about the prohibition of Drugs Han Solo was running the drug Spice, and then there is all the alcohol in Pirates.I see this rule as being applied inconsistently.

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