LEGO Friends 2018 Design Change Explained

LEGO Friends Friendship House (41340)

The 2018 LEGO Friends sets will be coming out in a few weeks and you’ve probably noticed that there are some slight changes to the girls. The LEGO Friends design team in Billund has given an official announcement of why they’ve changed which you can read below.

Every year we strive to innovate and make our products even better for children all over the world. A lot of effort has gone into the development of the LEGO characters and universes across our entire product range, so it makes us very happy when changes are noticed.

LEGO Friends in 2018 looks a bit different than what it has in the past. To be specific, the 5 main characters have a slightly different look but also the city and the citizens of Heartlake City have changed.

But what are the reasons for the change?

Firstly, we want to assure you that all 5 friends are still there in 2018.

Andrea, Mia, Emma, Stephanie and Olivia – they all still exist! Also the character’s main interests and personalities remain mainly unchanged.

What you will see in 2018 is an evolution of LEGO Friends, a progression of the story and characters to make sure children get an even greater play experience. Every year more than a million children and parents reach out to us and share what they love and what they would like to change. In the LEGO Friends range children told us that they would like even more differentiated characters and also suggested improvements to Heartlake City.

We always take great care to listen to input from children, and the LEGO Friends team has worked hard to make even more engaging and relevant experiences for children – and also make the LEGO Friends universe more true to the actual world children live in.

Taking a starting point in reality, we’ve made the characters more diverse in their appearance and have added more depth to their personality. And of course, they still live in Heartlake City. But just as the characters have changed, Heartlake City has become more differentiated and rich. There are different districts and there are other citizens that play a more active role in the story.

The changes we have made does not change the fact that previous and new LEGO Friends sets will cater for great building and play experience in 2018 and beyond, and we hope to inspire even more stories and play opportunities for children in the future.

  • Brickfinger

    Ok, I give up – what are the slight changes?

    • David4

      One of the girls now have glasses.

      • The Anonymous Hutt

        And is biracial/dark skinned. I hate this planet.

        • David4

          Wasn’t she is the first place?

    • Kitty

      Well there weren’t really changes that kids will notice. Just changes to shut up agenda-driven parents who write letters and have their kids sign it.

  • Brainslugged

    Well that press release sure spent a lot of words not really saying anything.

    • Kitty

      Yeah, but what kind of press release would it be if they got straight to the point and said “We darkened the light characters and lightened the dark one”.

  • David4

    LEGO needs to run for office, they do a great job explaining nothing. I feel like this is like when LEGO changed the color of grey, lied to fans several times before finally saying it’s because boys like bluer bricks. But boy LEGO just likes words without really explaining.

    • The Anonymous Hutt

      I don’t understand, how were they saying nothing? Also, I wasn’t around for the whole grey/grey fiasco. What happened?

      • Brickfinger

        Colour chart specialists showed up and changed dark grey, light grey and brown.

        It was “to make the palette more cohesive” or some bs talk. What it really was, was justifying their fees (and maybe saving some $ on abs pellets).

        • myscrnnm

          I always assumed the addition of blue to the light and dark grey bricks was to prevent yellowing, since Sony did the same thing when developing the plastic for the original PlayStation as they had learned from past video game consoles that they would yellow over time. Comparing my new grey pieces to old grey, the latter look really gross.

      • David4

        There are hundreds of words there that explain nothing.

        LEGO during the grey mess lied to fans left and right about why the colors changed, and why there couldn’t be just two new shades of grey. Issues with dies, can’t have 6 shades of a color (How many shades of purple do we have?). Finally the truth came out, they changed to the new grey because 5 year old boys like blue-grey more.

      • Purple Dave

        Back in 2004, the first we heard of the color change was people noticing the greys were different when they opened new sets. The UCS ISD was probably a key set because it was in production for a long time, and as they ran out of old parts they’d start subbing in the new colors, resulting in an ever-growing patchwork color pattern. It was eventually determined that the three shades of grey (dark-, light-, and the very-light- that was used exclusively for 1×1 plates in the B&W mosaic kits) and brown had been affected, while even tan (seemingly related to brown) was not. At first, they denied that they’d even changed the colors, in spite of giving them completely new internal color names. Eventually they fessed up, agreed to never change the colors again without consulting the fan community (not sure how that jives with “new dark-red”, and claimed it was the result of kids in a focus group saying they liked the new colors more. I don’t think anyone believes that’s really the truth, but I also don’t think anyone believes we’ll ever get the full story, especially this long after the fact when even many AFOLs aren’t aware that this even happened in the first place.

        From an objective view, I suspect any focus group they used may have been set up, purposefully or not, to favor the new greys. Under cool white fluorescent lighting, the old greys look terrible compared to the new ones, even though the new greys are cool colors when most of the color pallete (including blue) skew warmer and tend to clash a bit with the new greys. They also don’t seem to yellow, so it is actually possible that was a primary intent and the color change was just a coincidence. The only possible purpose I’ve heard of for changing brown is that it happened right after they released the NBA minifigs and Lando, and that black print reads very badly on old brown. Reddish-brown is also lighter so black print is a lot easier to make out. It seems a bit too coincidental that Lando was the only traditional minifig released with an old-brown head when no other advantages of reddish-brown have been noted. It’s not like old brown yellowed with age or anything.

  • Kitty

    Yes. The “Children” were the ones asking for their favorite characters to suddenly change ethnicity and .. ahem… other things.

    Nothing wrong with Diversity if thats what “Children” are demanding. But why not introduce new characters instead of “adjusting the saturation” on established characters.

    • The Anonymous Hutt

      I hate this planet. It needs to grow up, myself included.

  • Bongo Beans

    Couldn’t care less as long as they keep the sets innovative. Some of the Friends sets are far superior to city and have interesting builds and elements – I just wish they would tone down the colour of the buildings a bit so I dont thave to sub in so many bricks.

  • Donald Roos

    Here’s a thought, LEGO, how about making up a new character. Call me crazy. Might have to put a little imagination into it. Btw, that’s what my daughter told me she’ll be doing with the new ones.

  • RockmanNeo

    I’m just thankful that LEGO minifigs stay yellow.