|Toy Brands and Manufacturers
Lego Creator is Lego's sub-brand for sets that emphasise the creativity and ingenuity of the designer.
The "Creator" range was a reaction to criticisms that too many recent Lego sets were relying on special-purpose single-use parts, and that Lego was drifting away from its design roots – initially, the company had produced a limited range of general-purpose and often highly abstract parts, and it was up to the imagination of the user to see how they could be used to make new models.
Creator also served a purpose in steering the internal culture of the company – in-house designers had been allowed to create new custom parts for their models to a greater extent than had been sensible, and as a result Lego had ended up with a larger (and more costly) parts inventory than they'd have liked. Once you factored in the idea that many users expected each part to be available in a range of colours, and that it only took one part to be unavailable in one colour to stop the production of a set, it became clear that this tendency to keep producing more and more specialised parts wasn't just annoying customers and giving the company credibility problems (because the custom parts felt like "cheating"), it also had management and cost implications.
Creator sets typically focus on using clever techniques to create difficult shapes with common parts, and avoid using specialised pieces – for instance, Creator "car" sets avoid the extravagantly-curved dedicated "car bodywork" pieces and instead rely on using larger numbers of common parts, such as small "angle" rooftiles for their bodywork. The result is greater play value, a greater sense of achievement in completing a model, and a greater educational value as the user learns new techniques. It also gives the buyer a larger set of parts for making other models, and shows off the original designer's talents. These "clever" models also showcase the possibilities of the Lego system, let the company effectively brag about the creativity of their in-house designers, and let them showcase the creative theme running through the company's philosophy.
As of 2014, the Lego Creator sets are divided into two ranges.
The "3in1" range are smaller sets that make use of Creator designs' use of very standard parts to produce sets that can be rebuilt as one of three different "factory" models.
The "Expert" range are much larger, more impressive "showcase" models designed to show off some of the more unusual building techniques and results hat can be achieved with Lego bricks. These built models are often showcased in Lego Store window displays when launched, notablle recent examples being their Sopwith Camel Biplane model, an impressively detailed authorised model of a VW Camper van, and the range of modular shops and buildings that make heavy use of SNOT ("Studs Not On Top") building techniques.