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Founded in 1932 in Denmark, LEGO is a world-known toy manufacturer, famous for its colorful construction blocks that can be assembled to build several different objects like vehicles, robots and buildings. Available in a range of styles and designs, they are an integral element of American childhood. From a mere carpenter’s workspace to one of the largest global manufacturers of toys, LEGO has come a long way since its time of inception.
With a yearly revenue of EUR 5.87 billion (2020), the brand has over 10,500 employees in 31 countries worldwide. A major part of the brand’s success centers around their quality of products, excellent craftsmanship and branding. Below, we’ll take a look at the LEGO logo design history but before that, let’s see how it all began.
Lego legacy – An interesting story
In 1932, a simple carpenter and joiner named Ole Kirk Kristiansen started his own business in the village of Billund, Denmark, making stools, ironing boards, stepladders, and wooden playthings. His son, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, joined his business at a mere age of 12. Lego is currently owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the grandchild of the founder. In 1934, both the company and its products started using the name LEGO – an acronym for the two Danish terms “leg godt,” which means “play well.”
The name is synonymous with their colorful play blocks and has always been written in bold capitals. However, this is probably the most constant element of the brand’s visual identity, since there are over 15 redesigns of the brand’s logo design throughout its history — in terms of shapes, fonts, and colors.
Of all their products, the LEGO brick is the most important one as it has been conferred the “Toy of the Century” title twice. Although their products underwent extensive changes over the years, the traditional LEGO brick still remains its foundation. The bricks, as we see them today, were launched in 1958. Their interlocking structure with tubes makes them unique, offering infinite building possibilities. All you need is a little imagination, creativity, and a sense of adventure to get the game right.
LEGO logo design – How it has evolved over the years
A favorite plaything of kids (as well as many adults) for decades, LEGOs are the most famous and immediately recognizable toys across the world. An apt example of smart branding, the LEGO logo has a fascinating journey that’s worth your attention.
1934 – 1936
The earliest official LEGO logo featured a solid and bold wordmark in capitals, written in black and used across all business papers and stamps. The lettering was done in a stylized serif typeface with thick straight lines and quirky diagonal serifs. While it was a vibrant and attractive logotype, it only existed with the brand for two years.
1936 – 1946
As the company started using its logo on their products in 1936, it was redesigned so as to fit the wooden playthings. To obtain proper labeling, an italicized brand name in thin lines was positioned in the center with dual horizontal lines on both sides. The phrase “Fabriken Billund” was written inside the parallel lines. This simple and modest logo represented the company for almost a decade.
1946 – 1950
The very first colorful edition of the LEGO logo was created in 1946. The colors orange and black that were used in the logo stood for energy, joy, and confidence. It was an entirely text-based logo, designed in two different ways. The orange “LEGO” lettering featured a sans-serif typeface and was backed by a black cursive “Klodster”, positioned right at its base. It was a neat, professionally designed logo – a better expression of the company’s motive and values, than all the earlier versions.
Another logo was designed during this period, which was a 3D wordmark sitting on a black and brown platform, resembling a toy box. This was used only on the LEGO wooden toys, years after they manufactured their first plastic plaything.
1950 – 1953
The company launched its plastic block series in the 1950s and also adopted a new visual identity to commemorate it. It featured a white ring with a thick black boundary and the phrase “Billund Denmark” imprinted around its perimeter. The lettering “LEGO” in red was placed at the center of the ring, going over its contour.
Another version of the logo was designed in 1949, which was a yellow bold lettering in a black flat oval. The current version of the LEGO official logo uses the color palettes of both of these versions during the 1950s. The current lettering style is also based on the logo from 1949 — fat round letters.
1953 – 1955
This was probably the first time that the company tried to associate its logo with their end users or customers. During this era, the LEGO logo design used three different colors, namely red, white, and yellow. The logo looked to have either had a rectangular or elliptical shape.
Their first design featured the red LEGO-wordmark with a white border placed within a yellow rectangle. This looked quite fresh and attractive. The remaining two variants had red oval shapes. They were similar to each other in almost all aspects, save the color of the brand name and the straight line that passes through the LEGO-wordmark.
The very first design in this category consisted of the brand name “LEGO,” in white and a thin black outline. The strike through the wordmark, in this case, was thick and white. The other one featured a white LEGO-lettering with a very bold black outline. The strikethrough was thick and black. According to the content on the LEGO official website and other reliable news outlets, the logo was designed to inspire kids with utmost joy and a sense of sociability.
1955 – 1960
In 1955, the base model for the present LEGO logo was designed. It included a red horizontal oval with smooth, white typeface and black outline. The emblem featured another detail — a slim white horizontal line with duo solid spheres on its ends. This feature either resembled a dog bone or made the entire emblem replicate a button. No matter what it looked like, it added uniqueness to the logo and made their products stand amidst the crowd.
In the logo redesigning attempts over the years, the white section turned into black, and the lettering outline became bolder, which gave a powerful and confident look to the brand’s visual identity. In the next few years, the company used the logo version wherein the lettering was in yellow, instead of white.
1960 – 1964
In 1960, a modified version of the previous logo was designed, where the oval was replaced by a rectangle and the crimson letters by white. The letters of the wordmark were also placed close to each other. The word “System” was placed below the main lettering and written in yellow italics. This logo design looks very similar to the present one, the key difference being the inscription on the previous version was fairly extended.
1964 – 1972
In 1964, the rectangle transformed into a square and became an element of a larger geometric form. This version of the LEGO logo was certainly more colorful and attractive than all the previous ones. Here, a big horizontal rectangle was perpendicularly divided into two identical squares — the red with the lettering “LEGO System” on the left and the colorful one, made of multiple straight lines on the right. This design was an emblem of happy, energetic playtime and excitement, inducing a smile.
1972 – 1998
In this version, the designers dropped the stripe cube, leaving only the one with the brand name “LEGO System”. Basically, only the red cube remained, whereas the colorful stripes vanished. The new version featured a white wordmark “LEGO” with a dual black and yellow border. The letters were written in a bold curved sans-serif typeface, giving a strong yet friendly vibe.
1998 – Present
The LEGO visual identity of 1998 was only a slightly modified version of the previous one. Only some minute details have been changed so the logo design remains relevant to the company’s business plan and values. Here, the alphabets are more adjacent to each other and the whole emblem is tapered, wearing a clean and professional look. The iconic red, white, black, and yellow color palette remains intact, including the mood and message of the iconic image.
Design elements of the Lego logo
The striking Lego logo is an exemplary work of art. The font, name, and colors of the emblem have been strategically used to make it attractive to the young audience, including their parents. One can easily associate the logo with a toy company, even if they have never seen it before. While it is small enough to go with virtually any kind of toy packaging, it’s also resilient enough to be put on larger print materials or boxes.
This current logo design works well for the toy manufacturing company. All the colors in the logo, particularly red and yellow, are common colors reminiscent of childhood, imagination, and enthusiasm. Made of quirky bubble letters, the font is also unique with an irresistibly playful feel.
Final thoughts on the Lego logo
Throughout its journey, the LEGO logo design has undergone several transformations but they have been mostly associated with the brand name, bright colors, and geometric shapes. Over time, the rectangle that was used as the backdrop changed into a square. The lettering has also gradually evolved. The previous elongated letters were replaced with friendlier, more magnificent letters. The striking red, white, black, and yellow palette imparts life to the logo and draws the audience’s attention.
While the journey of the LEGO logo design is one of the lengthiest and most diverse ones ever, the end result is definitely worth it.
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