Aimee’s GD Blog

A place to share my work and thoughts

A Fun Time in LEGO Land! June 10, 2009

Filed under: 470 Projects — Aimee @ 11:44 pm

AFOL Logo_1.2 Well, it’s that time, the end of the term. All the final prjects are turned in and the waiting begins for the final assessment. It was great fun working on this project. I would actually like to expand it more to the AFOLs and figure out a way to produce some of these items for them. What I liked most about this job was the interaction with the AFOLs and the Non-AFOLs. I only got to interact with the community via emails and the websites they directed me to for additional information. Some of them were really great for information and just fun to communicate with. I also have to give a shout out to the great employees at the LEGO Store at Washington Square, especially Tom the manager. I couldn’t have done it without them. (I’m planning a special little package to send them as a thank you, that’s the reciprocity part right?) He gave me so much additional information I couldn’t get it all into this project. I plan to expand it further with more information graphics and “educational” materials.

After all the communication with the community and the LEGO Store, I found out that the AFOL community actually influences the LEGO corporation more than they are influenced by it. They have been involved in many of the corporate design plans for new sets and many of them have had their sets produced by the company for sale all over the world. The licensed Master LEGO builders get spots in the Nieman Marcus holiday catalog. You can actually order one of the Master Builders to make a life sized replica of you. It’s not cheap, but very cool! The AFOL community has also been heavily involved in the educational side of LEGO. A Few years back LEGO contacted some of the AFOLs from around the country (Portland included) to be a part of the Mindstorms project which are educational building sets for children.

On the other side of the LEGO community are the other people who are adults that don’t regularly play with LEGO. From what I found out from my LEGO free build a couple of weekends ago, most everybody loved their LEGO bricks as a child, most of them hadn’t really played with them since. They still had a great time and came up with some pretty fun original creations. If I remember correctly from the surveys, some of them even said they would contemplate playing with them again. Awesome! another AFOL convert!

As a fun note, one of my dear friends from 7th grade who also works at Pixar, was just featured in the latest Brick Journal Magazine, one of the official magazines for the LEGO community. Great Job Angus!

In closing, this again was a great project that I really enjoyed working on. I had so many more ideas that I just couldn’t add into the final project due to time constraints. But they are not forgotten. I still have plans for them.

Have a great summer! And remember Play Well!


Mini Me


Interactive Website Inspiration May 7, 2009

Filed under: 470 Projects — Aimee @ 9:10 am

After our group meetings today, I came home and started researching websites that had the kind of interactivity I was looking for for my LEGO time line. I’ll post the links to these sites at the bottom of this blog. Please check them out, they’re great!

The first one is for NASA’s 50th anniversary. It has the kind of date structure that I am looking to create. As you click on each decade the images shifts to a building that represents the type of structure that was common then. It also plays popular music from the time. I’m mainly looking at the date structure along the bottom. Here are some samples of the pages:


The second one is for a type foundry called Our Type. This site is great for it’s scrolling feature. You grab the little orange scroll box on the right side and drag it to wherever you want to see samples of a particular type face. This is what I had in mid for scrolling along the built modular LEGO time line segments. As you stop at a particular scene, either a pop-up will appear or I’ll make it look like some kind of a rollover effect that will display additional information about that scene and the LEGO fact it represents. Here’s a sample of that site:


Please let me know what you think. Thanks!


LEGO Term Long update May 6, 2009

Filed under: 470 Projects — Aimee @ 10:22 pm

Hello all,

Here’s a little update of what I have been up to on my lovely LEGO project. I have been in email correspondence with the manager of the local LEGO store. He is hooking me up with the local AFOL community here in Portland. Once I get this contact info, I’m going to arrange time to meet them and collect as much inf from them as possible regarding their obsession with LEGO. Hopefully I will be able to photograph some of their builds to add into my booklet of LEGO artists.

The manger is going to get approval from the head office to make sure I can hang out in the store and gather info from the employees and customers with photos. He sent me a link to AM NW website. A local builder was just featured on the show yesterday morning (I’ll post the link on the bottom of this post for all who would be interested).

Here’s what’s new: a new addition to the physical time line. It’s a representation of the quintessential opening scene from the original Star Wars. It’s to commemorate  1999 when LEGO released it’s first of many Star Wars model sets
(this is also posted on flickr).


In case I didn’t show it before, here’s the first set to the physical time line. These separate little scenes represent the release of the first LEGO brick (1953), the release of doors and windows (1954), the first LEGO town system and trees (1955). There are going to be many more that will span time up to 2009. They are still in the planning and building phase. These will all eventually be photographed and turned into an interactive web time line that will have special effects like rollovers and scrolling thru the site to navigate to the part of the time line you want to see.

My plan for deliverables is a booklet that features LEGO international artists and their work, local AFOL builders, samples of other sculptures and art pieces from all over the world. A series of “activist” posters. These are going to be a fun play on Greenpiece (Greenpeace) and PeTLA (PeTA). The physical and web interactive timeline. A logo for the AFOL community. A bunch of LEGO slogan inspired T-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers. I think this could be a fun kit to give to people who are beginner AFOLs, something to entice them into the community.

The audience interaction part is also still in the planning stage. I need to advertise and schedule out a time and possibly a classroom to set-up my custom build program. I plan to bring in a wild assortment of bricks and other fun pieces for people to come in and create either one giant themed building or individual builds without instructions. There will also be LEGO cookies and hopefully some of the fun buttons & swag as give-aways.


I hope that after this is all done, I will have opened people’s eyes and minds to LEGO as a creative tool for adults and not just toys for kids. I’d love for participants to get inspired to start “playing” with LEGOs on their own. It’s a great creative tool that also helps in the areas of geometry, math and even architecture.


LEGOs Are Not Just For Kids April 16, 2009

Filed under: 470 Projects — Aimee @ 4:56 am

As of this morning I have now changed my Term Long Project. I decided to direct my efforts to something that is closer to my heart, LEGOs!


I love LEGOs! I am what those in the community would call an AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO). I’m also one of the rarer forms of an AFOL, I’m a female. We are the minority in the community. I want to design my project around the rest of us in the AFOL world. I don’t have the actual statistics yet but, the LEGO community is primarily adults (male). More kids are getting into LEGO because of all the pop culture licensed sets like Star Wars, Harry Potter & Indiana Jones. They are not my focus. I want to show the OCD world of the adult collector. By the end of all of this, I’m hoping I can assimilate more of you into the collective.


For my research/historical reference I am planning to build a LEGO time line out of actual bricks and pieces. I am going to include dates and the significant milestones of the company. The landmark releases of important pieces, sets, and mini-figures (mini-figs). If I am lucky I will actually be able to bring it into class for you all to see.

My audience participation/interaction will revolve around me bringing in an assortment of bricks and pieces in multiple colors and  set up a space in one of the rooms to host a group build. I want to make it graphic design related, so I was thinking about creating a dinensional typeface or a more conceptual piece for all of you to build. There will be no preconceived instruction booklet, just your imaginations. If anyone has a suggestion for something you would like to see built out of LEGOs, please post a comment. I will photograph the event and get feedback from everyone who participates.

My deliverables list is way too long and varied. I need to priortize my plans. At this point there will be T-shirts with witty taglines and images, PSAs about the dangers of letting kids have your LEGOs, posters with a Greenpeace spin on them, buttons, bumper stickers, etc…sculpture

I also want to present LEGO as an art form. There is more to them that just opening a box and making a pre-planned set designed by the big brain people at LEGO headquarters who need degrees from MIT to work there. There are only a handful of people in the world who are licensed by LEGO to build models, sculptures, and re-creations of famous works of art and make a living off of it. These guys make the most amazing sculptures from the humble LEGO brick.

Well, there it is my rough plan for my term long project. I look forward to see what all of you think. I think it will be a ton of fun.

By the way LEGO means Play Well. That is my little contribution to you all, play well.



Everyone Can Draw April 11, 2009

Filed under: 470 Projects — Aimee @ 7:32 am

After a long trying process I think I have finally come up with a term long project! Yippee! How many times have you heard peope say “I can’t draw”? I know I’m one of those people who does not have the best drawing skills. Whenever I come up against the blank page and I have to sketch something out, my mind goes blank. The signals from my brain don’t make it to my hand and the pencil.

l40135Well, here’s the theory. Everyone can be creative and draw. My plan is to come up with a series of pages that have swatches of color or patterns on them that do not have any kind of outlined shape like a coloring book for example. It will be a reverse of a coloring book. Each page will be different and start from a really basic grouping of multiple colors and get more complicated. More complicated groupings of color or patterns and make some of the color combinations more muted or monochromatic. The user would come up with their line art with what they see within the spaces of the color or pattern. Each of these pages would hopefully build up someone’s confidence in their drawing skills to when they get to the end of the book and face the last page that is blank, they won’t be intimidated by the blank page. I would end up making a book of these pages and packaging them with a few simple drawing tools; a pencil, marker, crayon, charcoal, and a piece of graphite. All these tools would be black.

darthandleiacoloring-1With a standard coloring book the lines and spaces are already defined for you. I want people to define their own creativity and not to be frightened by a blank page. I think this could be a fun experiment, it will be interesting to see what kind of images people come up with. This could be a program for people of all ages. The deliverables could include the book, t-shirts, custom pencils or pens, a pencil cup for storage, a large scale poster of a page posted in the hall for anyone to come up and draw on. For more user research, I could take the pages to community centers that have drawing classes and leave them with the class along with a feedback page. This program would introduce the 5 basic elements of design: line, color, shape, texture, and space.

I’m still flushing out the rest of the concept, but I think it is a good start. If anyone has any questions or comments, please leave leave them for me.



Welcome! April 1, 2009

Filed under: 470 Projects — Aimee @ 10:09 am

Welcome to This is my first post. I’m brand new to the blogging world. So bear with me as I get the hang of it. I hope you enjoy the posts to come.