Doing good with good design: products that championed sustainability and activism
by Jincy IypeDec 28, 2022
•make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend
by Jerry ElengicalPublished on : Jun 02, 2021
'Everyone is Awesome' is a new buildable display model from LEGO, developed to promote inclusivity and diversity among its innumerable fans across all age demographics worldwide. Conceptualised and designed by Matthew Ashton, LEGO's Vice President of Design, the set's bold, multicoloured appearance, featuring a cascade of vivid hues, draws from the iconic rainbow flag - a universal symbol of love and acceptance. In recent decades, this striking emblem has invariably been associated with the pride and diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community, becoming a staple feature of inclusive socio-political movements all across the globe.
"I wanted to create a model that symbolises inclusivity and celebrates everyone, no matter how they identify or who they love. The starting point for this was my feeling that we, as a society, could be doing more to show support for each other and appreciate our differences," says Ashton, in a press release about the set. Describing its personal significance to him in a statement on the intent behind the design, he shares, "Being LGBTQIA+ myself, I knew I needed to step up to the plate and make a real statement about love and inclusivity”.
The model's conception was influenced by Ashton's own challenging experiences with adults unwittingly attempting to force gender-based societal norms onto him during childhood - an issue faced by most LGBTQIA+ individuals even today. He reflects on his own story, saying, "I was one of the lucky ones who was able to come out and had people there to support me”. He contrasts his account to those of many LGBTQIA+ youth forced to confront hate, violence, or discrimination while coming out themselves. In this manner, he conceived 'Everyone is Awesome' as a symbol of encouragement and support towards the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies - with a title that is a play on the infinitely catchy theme song from the first LEGO movie.
Measuring 10.24 cm in height, the L-shaped display model possesses a depth of 12.80 cm with an arching back. These dimensions make it the ideal showpiece to display on a window sill, desk, or shelf - as a bold, visible reminder of the importance of taking pride in your identity. Assembled from 346 individual pieces, 'Everyone is Awesome' features 11 distinct monochrome figures, each corresponding to a colour of the rainbow flag, with unique hairstyles to distinguish and represent the heterogeneity of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Ashton further shares, "Design-wise, I love how bold yet simplistic the set is. It sends a powerful message, but it is also fun and quirky and doesn’t take itself too seriously”. Regarding the set's representative inclusivity, he remarks that the product designers at LEGO ensured that they included black and brown colours, "to represent the broad diversity of everyone within the LGBTQIA+ community”, and continues to mention that they have “also added in the pale blue, white, and pink to support and embrace the trans community”. Additionally, Ashton mentions that he intentionally incorporated the purple drag queen figurine into the set, “as a clear nod to the fabulous side of the LGBTQIA+ community”.
During his 20 years with the Danish toy manufacturer, Ashton has helmed the development of a myriad of innovative sets and even served as the executive producer for the hugely successful LEGO film franchise, along with its sequels. In the face of all his illustrious achievements, he remarks, "This is one of the sets that I am most proud of”. Expressing his pride in LEGO's desire to have a voice on such topics, Ashton adds, "We do truly feel that everyone is awesome”. With the model slated for release on June 1 to commemorate the start of Pride Month, Ashton declares that with 'Everyone is Awesome,' "we hope to show that we care, no matter who you are”.
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