Today’s post is the last in a three-part series about the LEGO Review. Last week we explained in detail the phases of the LEGO Review and how it works. Before that we revealed the new quarterly schedule for review periods. This week we give you tips for building your project so it has a better chance of passing the review once it reaches 10,000 supporters.
There’s no secret formula to passing the review. We make our decisions on many factors, and some of the reasons behind decisions won’t be readily apparent to the public. The tips in this post are not a checklist for guaranteed success. Nor does not following them a guarantee your project will fail. These tips are to give you a leg up and help you increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
- A good LEGO model helps, but it’s not required. A good model helps you get supporters and also helps us in the model design process. If you submit concept art or photos, we have to design the model from scratch ourselves. The evolution of an idea to final product can take many twists and turns. The more precisely you describe your concept with LEGO bricks, the closer the end result will be to your original concept. If your project reaches production, the final product will be designed by a LEGO model designer, so know that the product won’t be your exact design.
- Your model can actually be too good for CUUSOO. What? Blasphemy! Actually, some advanced building techniques common in the AFOL community aren’t used on official products because it’s too complex for the builder following instructions—even on large models for ages 16+. If your model is a particularly tricky build, our end product could look significantly different—or not pass review at all. LEGO CUUSOO isn’t a place to canonize the best MOCs as official sets, instead, building your CUUSOO model closer to how we design LEGO sets will make it easier to turn your concept into reality. Need help knowing what techniques aren’t allowed? Re-create your model using LEGO Digital Designer.
- Consider your model size and potential cost. While we’re known for building large models, not every large model is practical for us to produce from a business perspective. We will not rule out a large model initially, but it might run into trouble when we build a business case.
- Models should not depend on new LEGO element molds. While we love considering new elements, if a model depends on a new element, there are more potential factors on which it can fail review. All new LEGO elements go through a very strict design and review process before they are accepted into the LEGO system. An existing element in a new color is OK, but a new element in one set isn’t likely.
- Go wide. Projects that feature new ideas and new categories have greater potential. We have planning cycles and we review CUUSOO projects in light of our upcoming products. Even if there isn’t a direct conflict, categories might overlap, and like any smart consumer business we are conscious of cannibalizing our own sales. Projects that extend a current playtheme or a license run the risk of not being approved, as these lines are pre-planned and produced over longer periods of time. Licensed products also require approval by third parties, which is not guaranteed. While we love watching your enthusiasm for current LEGO themes and licenses, remember that LEGO CUUSOO is oriented toward new and original ideas.
- Think in terms of individual sets, since playthemes are planned well in advance. Many of the playtheme projects on LEGO CUUSOO are very well done, however LEGO CUUSOO is oriented toward producing and selling individual products (or SKUs). On the upside, the conceptual and story work that goes into developing a playtheme helps build a project with depth and character that can compel people to support. We allow projects to propose playthemes as they help communicate a concept, but remember that our team makes the final decision on what will be produced, and we are set up to produce individual LEGO sets.
- Keep your concept kid-appropriate. We’re adult LEGO fans too, but LEGO is still a toy company. We decide what concepts and IPs are appropriate for us to put our logo next to, and LEGO CUUSOO is not a way to force us to release a product that doesn’t fit our brand. If your project is based on an IP like a movie or game, make sure the IP itself is kid-friendly. In the borderline cases, we decide. While we have our own framework, the balanced reviews on sites like Common Sense Media can give you an idea of which direction something might go in a borderline case. They provide a more nuanced system by ranking various types of content.
- Suggesting a new license introduces factors outside of our control. Understand if your idea is for us to produce a new licensed item, you’re introducing factors into the review process that can diminish your chances. Most licenses are owned by large corporations, so striking an agreement requires many stakeholders and legal complexity. Also, some licenses can be exclusive or can forbid us from working with competing brands. Note that if a license doesn’t work out, we will not produce a project as an unlicensed version, since the supporters would have been gained because of the license. While your chances are slim, if your licensed project succeeds you’ll be a hero to fans of your favorite brand!
Succeeding at promoting and building an audience for your project is just the first step. We hope you find these tips helpful in understanding what will carry your project through the LEGO Review and on to the ultimate goal as a LEGO product.