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Charting 52 Years Of Lego Brick Colors

Over the last few decades, Lego bricks have gotten a lot more diverse.

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In what is perhaps the most literal chart you will read today, one member of the Lego fan site Brickset has graphed the last 52 years of Lego bricks sold, by color.

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That’s right: the actual colors you see on this stacked area chart are actually the colors of Lego bricks sold each year (calculated by weight, depicted by percentage).

While its creator–Dave123–admits that the colors he listed before 1970 may be based upon less reliable data, the visual narrative is interesting all the same. You can see how the dominance of just a few powerful colors, like red, white, blue, and yellow, have given way to a small mountain striated by many, lesser-released colors. Around 1980, the color grey gains incredible momentum, thanks to the popular medieval Castle set, first released in ’78. (The popular Space models in the ’80s certainly helped, too.) Brown catches on after the release of Pirates in 1989. And the crazier colors are likely driven by Lego’s evolved marketing model, which is less about promoting free-building with a few basic colors, and more about selling licensed kits depicting the wild color palettes from the bright universes of Disney, Marvel, DC, and Minecraft.

Of course, what you can’t see in this chart is, perhaps, the even more important part of the story: That Lego managed to turn around their company by doing so many things other than selling actual Lego bricks.

[via Randy Olson]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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