A while ago, we featured a set of comic panels that went viral across the social media platforms during the COVID lockdown period in some countries. A lot of us were able to relate to the situations and found great humour in them. It was our pleasure to have communicated with Primus Nair, Head of Creative, Asia Pacific from LEGO and based in Singapore to share a bit on the collaboration process, especially during the period where a lot of the industries were working online leverage remote tools instead of face to face meetings.
TBB: How did the idea come to be in the first place?
Primus: When it comes to social media, we try to be as relevant to our audiences as possible. In this particular case, the team wanted to take a look at the lighter side of how we are spending more time being homebound. We looked at a bunch of different scenarios and created tips that might help, albeit in a slightly fun, LEGO way. When it came to executing visually, we wanted it to feel a little like a comic strip and decided that the panelled format of our Build Instructions would do nicely.
TBB: Would you be able to share how this was a team effort?
Primus: The team behind this was our Content Strategist, Samuel Lee, our Copywriter, Aik Tiao, and Senior Graphic Designer, Jennyson Rosero. They took it from conceptualization to finished product.
TBB: During the release of the panels, Singapore was in the lockdown period, how did the team collaborate?
Primus: While not ideal, the team has embraced video conferencing in a big way. Everything from brainstorming to sharing of initial sketches, edits, etc. are all done online.
TBB: Did one person storyboard the idea, or were there multiple individuals sharing their own ideas?
Primus: The core team brainstorm together and when they have a bunch of different executions they like, we sit down and choose the ones we think will work best. Our Graphic Designer will then do a rough storyboard for us to discuss and critique before we go into full execution.
TBB: We typically see global focused execution in place for cost-effectiveness and scalability ie: localisation for campaigns. how are initiatives or ideas like the daily life activities pitched? How much free reign is given to regions?
Primus: It’s incredibly important to us as a brand to have a universal message that works across markets. Something that resonates with as many of our consumers as possible. So for larger campaigns, we try to keep that consistent to make the global campaigns scalable across all markets.
However, all markets are different. And some nuances allow us to have slightly more involved conversations on a local level. While we stay in close communication with our global teams, they have been incredibly supportive of us, furthering these conversations locally.
TBB: How long was the inception of the idea to the actual finished artwork? Were there revisions?
Primus: Every idea is slightly different. For this one, I believe ended up with a rendered visual in about a week.
TBB: We’ve noticed in some of the images, pieces are used in ways that don’t work in real life. How do you decide when to take artistic liberty with the bricks to make the image you want, versus making something “buildable”?
Primus: Being Adult Fans of LEGO ourselves, we are incredibly particular about staying true to our system of play. For this idea, storytelling was key to comprehension, so some small visual considerations were made.
TBB: Would you be able to share, what software are you using to create and render the models?
Primus: Our Graphic Designer ‘built’ the set using SketchUp to get the proportions and the angle right. When he is happy, he creates the fully drawn vector file in Illustrator. Depending on how complex it is, it can take anywhere between 1 and 3 days.
Since this interview was conducted, there have been two other panels that were released. Let’s dive in for more fun and goodness.
Life Scenario 4: Schooling from home
This was/is a very typical situation at home for parents in many places all over the world. It starts off with the assembly of a chair, and mum getting kid prepared all for him virtual schooling. Organised desk, check! Notepad, check! Writing instrument, check! As mum turns around to make the plans for the week on a scheduler, it’s essential to keep track of all minifigures that have short legs as they get distracted easily and disappear. This rascal is a bit sneaky as he cleverly props up his cap while he makes his escape. I’m willing to I bet you he went to play with his LEGO toys!
Life Scenario 5: Planting a new hobby at home
I, for one, can verify that I’ve had a few friends started their venture into home hydroponics during the lockdown period – just for fun and to educate the young ones at home while consuming the labour that bore fruit, typically leafy green vegetables. This lonely minifigure, perhaps not exactly into hydroponics, but looking for another living organism at home so as not to overly feel so alone. Plants the LEGO seed, waters it down… and the wait begins. It turns out, it may take longer than expected to see the plant growing as his very own hair starts to sprout a lot faster than the seeds. Next step, maybe we need to try this at home and see if we can grow LEGO elements instead.
We’d like to thank Primus Nair for this interview and also an extended high-five to the team behind the scenes for entertaining the folks at home during these strange times we live in affecting the global scene.