Chronicle Books has secured the rights from the Lego Group to release licensed books and stationery for adult fans of Lego, otherwise known as AFOLs. The first list, in April 2020, will include two books, as well as desk décor and stationery, a journal, postcards, and a puzzle. More releases are scheduled for fall 2020 and for 2021.
Lego has recently begun creating building sets and licensed products specifically for its many grown-up aficionados, featuring more complexity and detail and higher price points than its standard lines. “The adult audience is so huge you can’t ignore it,” says Chronicle’s senior editor Brittany McInerney, who adds, “This is a recognized global brand and top-of-class toy company. All they make is Lego and they do it with so much creativity, fun, and joy. And nothing’s been done for adults before, so it felt so new. This is such a passion project for our group.”
While Chronicle’s books and other products were designed for adults, who often turn to Lego-building as a means of reducing stress, they are meant to have broader appeal as well. “Adults are really into Lego and they like to build alone,” McInerney says. “But they also want to bring their families in, so we’re aiming for a range of ages.”
One of the first two books, Lego Still Life with Bricks: The Art of Everyday Play, is an 8x8 hardcover depicting colorful and realistic scenes from everyday life, such as sushi, balloons, bacon and eggs, and waves lapping up on a beach, all created using unconnected Lego pieces. It will be accompanied by a collection of 100 postcards—a standard Chronicle format—featuring images from the book. It is also being supported with a #LegoStillLife Challenge on Twitter and Instagram, starting February 22, where fans can post their own artwork using the same technique. The 1,000-piece puzzle, which is a new format for Chronicle, also features an image from the book, in this case of paint cans.
The second title on the launch list, Lego Small Parts: The Secret Life of Minifigures, is a 6.5 x 6.5 hardcover featuring photos of minifigures in scenes from everyday life—in therapy, working at a construction site, having a massage—with sarcastically humorous comments in comic panel-like speech balloons. The initial range of stationery includes two sets of note sheets in keepsake boxes and a journal, all with a photo-real look as if they are made of Lego bricks, and a pack of multicolored erasers in the shape of classic Lego pieces.
Two more books will come out later in 2020. “Spring 2020 really celebrates the brick, and fall is a celebration of the minifigure,” McInerney says. For fall, The Art of the Lego Minifigure is a coffee table art book, while Lego We Just Click shows various pairs of minis in real-world settings and explains why they “click together.” McInerney believes the latter will become a strong Valentine’s Day title. “It’s these adorable little moments of love, still with a bit of a sarcastic edge,” she says. Another journal, note cards, and puzzles are planned for the second half of the year as well.
Chronicle has been collaborating closely with Lego on both product development and potential sales opportunities in new venues, such as toy departments. “We had a lot of ideas and they helped us narrow it down and focus on what would sell to the adult fans,” says McInerney. “They’re also helping us understand the process of selling off the bookshelf. Wherever they sell, we will try to sell.”