LEGO Friends Team Addresses The 2018 Friends Redesigns

When the first images of the 2018 Friends sets started appearing online I noticed that Olivia looked odd. I sent off a message to LEGO to find out what was going on and they got back to me tonight. You can read their full statement in full at the end of the article.

Essentially the visual changes to the characters are actually only one part of the change. Heartlake City will be undergoing changes as well. The town will become more realistic, with different districts and other citizens.

With regards to the five main characters the LEGO Friends team assures us that they will each still have the same personalities and interests as before. Their design changes are just to diversify their appearance.

What are those design changes? Here is a rundown, starting with the most different…

Olivia

2018 Friends Redesign Olivia
The most obvious difference is that new Olivia has a darker skin tone and now wears glasses. Her hair style is also slightly different, with a braid in the front.

Emma

2018 Friends Redesign Emma
Emma’s eye colour changes from a deep green to brown in the redesign. It could just be me but it seems that they have also changed the eye shape slightly.

Andrea

2018 Friends Redesign Andrea
New Andrea also gets an eye colour change from green to brown. The lip colour has been darkened too. The new hair style is longer and looser than current version.

Mia

2018 Friends Redesign Mia
While Emma and Andrea switch from green to brown eyes, Mia’s eyes go the other way changing from brown to green. Her lips also have been changed to a more subtle tone.

Stephanie

2018 Friends Redesign Stephanie
Stephanie seems unchanged.

What do you think of the changes?

You can read the LEGO Friends team’s statement below.

Every year we strive to innovate and make our products even better for children all over the world. A lot of effort has gone into the development of the LEGO characters and universes across our entire product range, so it makes us very happy  when changes are noticed.

LEGO Friends in 2018 looks a bit different than what it has in the past. To be specific, the 5 main characters have a slightly different look but also the city and the citizens of Heartlake City have changed.

But what are the reasons for the change?

Firstly, we want to assure you that all 5 friends are still there in 2018.
Andrea, Mia, Emma, Stephanie and Olivia – they all still exist! Also the character’s main interests and personalities remain mainly unchanged.

What you will see in 2018 is an evolution of LEGO Friends, a progression of the story and characters to make sure children get an even greater play experience. Every year more than a million children and parents reach out to us and share what they love and what they would like to change. In the LEGO Friends range children told us that they would like even more differentiated characters and also suggested improvements to Heartlake City.

We always take great care to listen to input from children, and the LEGO Friends team has worked hard to make even more engaging and relevant experiences for children – and also make the LEGO Friends universe more true to the actual world children live in.

Taking a starting point in reality, we’ve made the characters more diverse in their appearance and have added more depth to their personality. And of course, they still live in Heartlake City. But just as the characters have changed, Heartlake City has become more differentiated and rich. There are different districts and there are other citizens that play a more active role in the story.

The changes we have made does not change the fact that previous and new LEGO Friends sets will cater for great building and play experience in 2018 and beyond, and we hope to inspire even more stories and play opportunities for children in the future.

5 Responses to LEGO Friends Team Addresses The 2018 Friends Redesigns

  1. CS says:

    So, the Lego response kind of irks me. I understand wanting to be responsive to comments, observations, wishes from its customer base but do so in a way that does not alter the main characters’ key features. At a fundamental level what does that say to children – if you are unhappy with your eye colour, no problem you can just change it, except that in reality you cannot without contact lenses. I think if they wanted more diversity in the range then this could have been achieved by adding new key characters that reflect that diversity. Arbitrarily changing an eye colour from brown to green or green to brown does not reflect diversity. Further, let us think about the ‘diversity’ demonstrated by a blonde haired, blue eyed Caucasian; this would have to be one the most ubiquitous stereotypes in the world. I do not support Lego’s approach and find it quite disappointing. Now none of this even touches on the changes to Olivia, who by the way is my favourite. I agree with you Michael that it is a shame that they chose to give her glasses when she is the ‘nerdy’ one as this seems fundamentally lazy. Then there is the colour of her skin. I am not sure how to respond to this change as it seems quite absurd to change a key character’s skin colour in response to customer views. This won’t stop me buying some friends theme but Lego should address how it introduces changes.

    • I agree. It seems pretty crazy to just change Olivia’s skin color. I can see why their hair changed texture. Over the years, human hair changes, so that could indicate what has happened. It even seems as though their height has changed! I mean, is it that they’re growing up? I’m worried about people like Livi. If the girls are growing up, and Livi’s is already a grown up since she lives by herself, whats gonna happen to her? How much older will she look? There are a lot of things I’m questioning right now.

  2. Heather says:

    I just hope they go back to the science and adventure sets. I stopped buying them when the jet and catwalk came out. Olivia just looks like she got a tan. I’m not sure that diversifies much, but I would welcome more diversity. I don’t share the concern of the previous commenter that somehow introducing diversity teaches the wrong values–that you just change your eye color with contacts. They didn’t change them because the girls didn’t like their appearance. They changed them because they didn’t represent the majority of the world’s children.

    • Michael says:

      The Livi stuff did seem a bit odd to me. The 2018 stuff doesn’t seem as bad so far. Hopefully the 2HY 2018 is less about reintroducing the characters (e.g. the ‘bedroom’ sets) and more adventurous.

  3. therealbryce says:

    PEOPLE CHILL OUT!!! I however see nothing wrong with black Olivia. I think it’s saying not everyone is a tiny white girl! Livi’s black get over it. #BLACKLIVESMATTERMOTHERFRICKERS!!!!

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