LEGO recently introduced its new “18+” theme as more or less a direct replacement for the old Creator Expert sets. Part of this shift has included a packaging overhaul. Gone are the bright, colourful boxes from just a couple of years back — solid black boxes with a single product photo front and centre is the new “adult” approach. And it makes sense, because the marketing team at LEGO know dedicated AFOLs will continue to fork out money month after month regardless of what a box looks like, but newcomers to the hobby or those looking for gifts are now able to purchase sets that feel more grown-up.
Unfortunately though, someone (and if I had to guess, someone in marketing and not design) has decided that the all-black branding needs to carry through into the instruction manuals.
There are no words to express how utterly crap this decision is. It is pretty much impossible to distinguish dark blue or dark brown pieces without holding the instruction book at just the right angle and for the first time in my life I almost gave up building the police station because it was such an infuriating experience. The Elf Clubhouse from last year was even worse, and who knows what sets are round the corner in 2021 that will suffer the same fate.