it’s 1978 — disco dominates the charts, mobile phones don’t exist, the internet is still more than a decade away and LEGO minifigures come to life. fast forward to today where these characters have kept up the pace of our evolving world, offering endless role-play possibilities. 40 years after its first appearance, LEGO celebrates its iconic figure anniversary reliving some milestone moments from its very big story.

LEGO minifigures 40 year anniversary designboom
70s minifigures

 

 

the LEGO minifigure story dates back to 1974 when the LEGO building figure was launched, composed of large square LEGO bricks with movable arms but immovable legs. this was followed in 1975 by adding extra figures with solid torsos, immovable arms and legs and no printed features. then came 1978, ushering a new era of LEGO minifigures complete with movable limbs and simple facial expressions featuring black eye dots and a black painted smile. today, 40 years later, there are more than 650 unique faces in the collection.

LEGO minifigures 40 year anniversary designboom
80s minifigures

 

 

at the beginning LEGO launched 20 different minifigures including a police officer, doctor, firefighter, knight and astronaut. four decades after, the number of minifigures available has risen to more than 8,000, showing that they can turn their hand to pretty much anything. from pirates to paramedics, engineers to elephant keepers, veterinarian to vikings… the LEGO minifigures even blasted into space onboard NASA’s juno spacecraft in 2011.

LEGO minifigures 40 year anniversary designboom
90s minifigures

 

 

the LEGO minifigures may be made for fun but they have also done their part in both diversity and fighting stereotypes. it’s traditional yellow color has been joined by both white and black color on some figures. it has also fought against stereotyping gender roles with female firefighters and ninjas, and through fathers equipped with baby carriers. in the end, the whole point of minifigures is to let children create and be anyone they want.

LEGO minifigures 40 year anniversary designboom
00s minifigures

LEGO minifigures 40 year anniversary designboom
2010s minifigures

 

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    PRODUCT LIBRARY

    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    design news