Six hundred billion. That’s how many little plastic Lego pieces have been produced since the company was founded in 1949.
Following the struggles of the Second World War, Danish inventor and toymaker Ole Kirk Christiansen created what would grow to be the world’s most powerful brand. That title comes from Brand Finance, and independent business evaluation company. Legos can be found everywhere on earth, and have even made their way to space on multiple occasions.
The name Lego is derived from the Danish phrase “leg godt”, which means “play well”. The idea behind the toys has been from the beginning to encourage kids to play with their imagination, constructing everything possible from worlds both real and fictional.
It rolled out Lego Duplo in 1969, with larger blocks for smaller hands so that young children could play with the same gusto as older kids.
Lego started out with simple blocks that were modeled on traditional wooden stacking blocks of the time period. They were made of cellulose acetate, were made to interlock for more stable and long lasting construction projects. Starting in the early 1950’s, Lego began making their toys with plastic, and in 1958 the modern brick was created. That same brick, which came after a decade of experimentation and development by the Lego team headed by his son Godtfred, is still the foundation of every Lego today.
Bricks to Bills
Lego is one of the largest and most influential companies in the world.
With seven theme parks in England, China, Denmark, Malaysia, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the United States, Lego has gone far beyond simple bricks. It’s branched out into many unusual and innovative areas. Business consultancy is a highly unlikely place where Lego is working to make a mark, with teams of adults constructing with its bricks as part of team building and leadership exercises.
Lego has run into its fair share of controversy. The brand has patented its design, and has gone aggressively after competitors who have copied its unique system. German courts have denied Lego the ability to patent its shape however, a ruling that was upheld by the European Court of Justice. It’s an issue that continues to plague Lego, as clones are rampant for the mega brand of toys.
For the entirety of its existence, Lego has been a privately held company.
Pop Culture Phenom
Lego has become more than just a toy company, it’s become a cultural icon across the world. It’s been used as a teaching tool with both small children and in scientific and robotic incarnations. Lego is credited with engaging children and adults about building and scientific ideas, prompting countless scientific and architectural innovators to get onto their career paths.
Beyond the sciences, Lego has expanded far into the world of popular culture with movies, television shows, and branding in every form imaginable. The Lego Movie and the Lego Batman Movie were huge pop culture successes, pointing to an ever-expanding presence of the brand that is well beyond brick building.
Sought after as collectibles and valued by children, Lego is a brand that is widely viewed as both wholesome and profitable. It’s a dominant cultural brand that has reached to every corner of the globe.