It’s 90 years since the LEGO Group was founded in 1932 and there is a very special LEGO magazine on the way to commemorate the 90th anniversary.
Back in 1932, Ole Kirk Kristiansen founded the LEGO Group. The carpenter was manufacturing wooden toys in the small town of Billund in Denmark. ‘Leg godt’ is Danish for ‘play well’ and is where the name ‘LEGO’ comes from. The LEGO headquarters are still in town today as the company celebrates its 90th anniversary and enjoys a position as one of the most beloved brands in the world.
A very special 90th anniversary commemorative magazine will be released in 2022, a special edition issue of Blocks that will be packed with unique features that have been a long time in the making. We’re pulling out all of the stops for this one, so get ready for interviews and builds like you’ve never seen before.
While Ole Kirk started with wooden toys, he was ready to adopt plastics and introduce building bricks to the LEGO Group’s range. This was accelerated in 1957 when Ole Kirk’s son Gotfred Kirk Christiansen took over the running of the company. In 1958, he was personally instrumental in coming up with the classic 2×4 LEGO brick design, featuring the all-important clutch power. That change ensured that LEGO bricks did more than just stack and could be used for more complex structures.
Wooden toys were discontinued in 1960, with all focus now on LEGO bricks and related products. Ahead of taking over as CEO in 1979, KJeld Kirk Kristiansen came up with the concept of ‘system within a system’ – introducing different distinctive play themes such as Town, Castle, Space and Pirates. Importantly he also encourages the addition of the minifigure, a character that defines the scale of most LEGO sets.
Things went on for several decades to growing sales, until the late 1990s and early 2000s saw the company at the brink of bankruptcy. The LEGO Group had not kept up with the times either as an organisation or as a toy producer, with many ill fated projects burning through money and achieving disappointing results. A huge restructuring and culture change saw Kjeld Kirk bring in Jorgen Vig Knudstrop as CEO.
In 1999, Star Wars became the first licensed LEGO theme and had great success, paving the way for Harry Potter and further existing IPs. BIONICLE was the LEGO Group’s biggest in-house concept in years when it launched in 2001, demonstrating that original worlds still had the potential to reach children around the world.
Following the restructuring, the LEGO Group had enormous success, driven by a relentless focus on core products. In 2014, the power of the brand is demonstrated with the release of The LEGO Movie. Produced by Dan Line and directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, it entertained audiences while reminding them what they love about LEGO bricks.
Niels B Christiansen became CEO in 2017. In 2020, the LEGO Group formalised its pitch to ‘mature’ fans, delcaring ‘adults welcome’ with a marketing campaign and more specifically adult building sets than ever before.
For the 90th anniversary of the LEGO Group, there will be at least one special commemorative product as well as a unique celebratory edition of Blocks, the LEGO magazine for fans. If you don’t have a subscription yet, get one before this edition launches – it’s going to have exclusive interviews, features and builds that you won’t find anywhere else. The 90th anniversary is a special one, and it deserves a special magazine to go alongside.