Internship in Denmark: as toy designer at LEGO Group

Teamwork and a playful attitude inspired Joona Järvinen, MA student of Collaborative and Industrial Design.
Joona Järvinen LEGO Group -pääkonttorin edessä

Joona Järvinen, MA student of Collaborative and Industrial Design, applied for an internship at LEGO back in 2019 after just starting his Master's studies in the CoID programme. At the time, he progressed all the way to the interview stage but was not selected. The following year, the internship was not possible due to covid-19. According to Joona, these gap years were beneficial as they allowed him to deepen his knowledge of user-centred methods and teamwork. Finally, in 2022, Joona was offered a five-month internship at LEGO Group in Billund, Denmark.

"We worked in 3-4 week sprints. The first days were spent digesting the source material and understanding the needs of the target group. New concepts were brainstormed as a group, and often everyone presented their own proposal in the form of a quick design. The first designs, called 'grey boxes', did not focus on aesthetic details and did not define the product line they might be associated with. The most important thing in designing the play experience was to consider what kind of functions the new structure would enable and what possible elements should be developed for it," says Joona Järvinen.

Designing new toys requires the ability to envision exciting experiences, either by designing impressive structures or new features on LEGO bricks. Set design requires sketching skills and the ability to communicate ideas to others, while element design focuses on the precise use of CAD and prototyping. 

"In both roles, you have to be able to throw yourself into the mix and let even the funny ideas come out, without forgetting a playful attitude!"

"You have to be able to throw yourself into the mix and let even the funny ideas come out, without forgetting a playful attitude!

Joona Järvinen

In Joona Järvinen's experience, LEGO work is a team effort. It's best to leave your own artistic ego aside, otherwise you'll get frustrated in the decision-making process. New and bold innovations are the result of the sum of several ideas.

"I personally experienced the most growth in teamwork skills. Most of the time I think about assignments on my own, and try to visualise my ideas as accurately and quickly as possible. With LEGO, I learned to verbalise my ideas at an earlier stage. This way, everyone in the group was more aware of where each of their ideas were going. In practice, it saved time, because at an early stage we could discuss the specifics of where the concepts should go."

According to Joona, the LEGO Group has a very friendly and relaxed culture. It's easy to find inspiration for creative work in the large LEGO library on campus, where all the elements you need are available on large bookshelves. Sometimes designers also had the opportunity to visit the archive, where all published LEGO sets are stored.

"The LEGO Group allowed me to express my creativity on a whole new level, and I hope to work there again sometime in the future," says Joona Järvinen.

The LEGO Group is a family-owned company founded in 1932 and since 2015 the world's largest toy manufacturer. The LEGO Group is headquartered in Billund, Denmark. The company has five headquarters, 37 sales offices, five manufacturing sites and more than 500 retail stores around the world.

Aalto-yliopisto A Grid / Photo: Unto Rautio

Collaborative and Industrial Design - Design, Master of Arts (Art and Design)

The studies in Collaborative and Industrial Design (CoID) focus on design's role in society. Students develop skills enabling them to work as design experts and leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators in a range of roles within industry, business, communities, education, and public sector.

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