10K Club Interview: It's Bricks & Blooms by Bricked1980!
John Cramp (or Bricked1980 on LEGO Ideas) is the man behind the Bricks & Blooms! With potentially over 10,000 customers looking to visit the modular garden center, it's certainly been a hit here on LEGO Ideas. Be sure to congratulate John in the comments down below!
- Who are you?
Hi there, my name is John Cramp.
- Where are you from?
I’m from Leicestershire in the UK.
- How old are you?
I’m 39 years young.
- What do you do for a living?
I work for a local heritage centre/museum and I am involved with graphic design and marketing there. Prior to this I’ve worked in graphic design for the past 20 years.
- What hobbies do you have?
Well Lego is one of my main hobbies but I’m also a keen artist and love drawing and painting, especially landscape painting. I’m also interested in history and nature and love spending time outdoors in the countryside with my family. When I get time I also enjoy playing video games.
- Do you have a personal LEGO portfolio website that you can share with us?
Yes I use Flickr to share images of my LEGO photography and MOC designs. You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter @bricked1980.
- Have you created any LEGO MOCs (my own creations) that you’re particularly proud of? What is it, why are you proud it and do you have a photo of it?
One of the designs I’m most proud of is a model of a Steam Traction Engine called The Old Workhorse which was actually a project I created for LEGO Ideas. Sadly it never reached 10,000 votes but it did still open up a lot of memorable experiences for me with the model being featured in magazines and newspapers as well as me being interviewed about it on BBC radio.
I’ve also designed several other modular buildings including “Brick Town Police Station” which is another project of mine here on LEGO Ideas.
- How and when did your interest for LEGO come about?
I’ve been a big LEGO fan since childhood and growing up in the 80’s LEGO was always my favourite toy. One of the first sets I remember receiving was 6378 Service Station which I still have in its original box to this day.
- What is LEGO for you? What does it mean for you? How does it fit in your life? E.g. build, display, meetups, play the games.. or 'just' watch the cartoons.
LEGO is a massive part of my life. In recent years my interest has become greater than ever since I became a Dad and my kids started to show an interest in LEGO themselves. Building with LEGO is such a great experience but being able to share that and pass it on to my kids is what makes the hobby so special to me.
- What is your favourite LEGO theme (current or past)? Why? And has any theme inspired your building style or preference in any particular way?
My favourite current theme is Creator Expert, especially modular buildings. They are always packed with so many details and innovative build techniques which makes them so much fun to build. I hope I’ve managed to capture some of those qualities with Bricks & Blooms. I’m also a fan of LEGO City, Speed Champions, Pirates and Creator 3 in 1.
- What is your favourite official LEGO set? Why?
I would have to choose two. My favourite set from my childhood was the Pirate ship 6286 Skulls Eye Schooner. It’s an amazing looking model and at the time this was by the far the biggest set I was lucky enough to own. My favourite more recent set is 10255 Assembly Square. In my opinion this is probably the best modular building that’s been released so far.
- What is your favourite LEGO element? Why?
I‘d have say any parts with extra studs on the side like 87087 are my favourites. These are incredibly useful and having the studs on the side opens up all sorts of possibilities for different building techniques.
- Is there a LEGO designer (official LEGO designer or fan designer) who you are inspired by and look up to? Who and why?
Jamie Berrard is my favourite official LEGO designer and I’m definitely inspired by the amazing modular buildings he designed. I always find his sets are very enjoyable to build and have a great aesthetic.
- Is there one or more particular LEGO related websites (not official LEGO websites) that you visit often and/or are inspired by?
There are several LEGO websites I visit regularly. I get my daily news fix from Bricksfanz, Brickset and The Brick Fan. I also get a lot of inspiration from seeing MOC’s on Eurobricks, the Brothers Brick, Flickr and Instagram.
About Your Project
- Where did your interest in this particular model come from?
I enjoy gardening and spend a lot of my time at local garden centres. So I felt this would make a good theme for a modular building. I also felt that a garden/plant related theme would give me a good excuse to add lots of vibrant colours to the building.
- How long was the process of making the project did, and what did you have to research as well. What kind of prep, research and design phases did you go through to produce your creation?
I started out by looking at different buildings online to get inspiration for the architecture and made a few rough sketches of how I wanted the model to look. It was then just a case of working out how to build my idea using LEGO. I designed the model digitally and it was a very enjoyable process, the model came together pretty quickly.
- What special challenges did you face creating the model? What was the most difficult part to recreate?
The main challenge with this model was keeping the parts count within the 3000 threshold required by LEGO IDEAS. In the end I was pleased as I managed to include all the details I wanted and only 2587 parts were used.
- How long did it take to complete the model? Did you finish it fairly quickly, or did it take a long time? And how did the build time compare to the time you spent promoting your Product Idea to reach 10,000 supporters?
It took about a month to design the model. I spent a couple more weeks after that creating all the images and editing them before I was ready to post the model online. From then on it was an ongoing process trying to promote the model and I must have spent many hours doing this over the past year or so.
- How did it feel when you reached the magic 10,000 votes and how long did it take?
It felt amazing. It’s been my ambition for the past couple of years to get one of my projects up to 10,000 and I was over the moon when Bricks & Blooms finally made it. This is the first time any of my projects have reached 10k and I’m massively grateful to everyone who voted. It took about 14 months for the project to reach 10,000.
- Approximately how many LEGO bricks did you use to create your model?
The model contains approx 2587 bricks.
- What is your favourite building technique or part/section that you’ve incorporated into your Product Idea?
My favourite section of the model is the outside gardening area at the back of the building. Modular buildings can often look a bit neglected from the back but with Bricks & Blooms it was important that the back of the building has plenty of detail as this is where the main area of the garden centre/plant area is situated.
- If you built your model digitally, what software did you use to build and render your model?
I used LDD (Lego Digital Designer) to build the bulk of the model. I then imported the model in to Mecabricks where I added a few extra details and rendered all the images.
About LEGO Ideas
- Do you have any useful advice about creating a successful LEGO Ideas project?
Well chances are you will have to spend a lot of time and effort promoting your model, so I think it’s important to choose a topic that means something to you personally and is something that you’re enthusiastic about. I also think it’s very important to make your project images as good as possible before you post them on the site, especially the main image. It might sound obvious but the main image is the first thing people see when they scroll through the website and a good image can make the difference between them clicking on your project or not.
- What (if any) methods did you use to advertise and attract support to your Product Idea?
I mainly used social media sites like Instagram and twitter to promote my project. I was also lucky enough to have it featured on some LEGO websites including, Bricksfanz, The Brick Blogger and The Brothers Brick which really helped to push the votes up.
- What is your favourite LEGO Ideas Product Idea (besides your own of course)? Are there any Product Ideas you think have been overlooked?
It’s so hard to choose but my favourites are Ghostbusters Ecto 1 and the Treehouse. I also cannot wait to get my hands on the amazing Pirates of Barracuda Bay.
- What is it about the platform that attracts you? What tips would you give to anyone who is thinking about uploading an idea
I think it’s incredible that LEGO IDEAS gives people the possibility to realize their dreams and have one of their designs turned in to an actual LEGO set. It’s just brilliant and no other company engages with their fans as well as LEGO do.
To anyone thinking of uploading a project, my advice would be to just go for it. You’ll probably have to spend a lot of time promoting your model and it can be disheartening sometimes if your promotional efforts don’t seem to pay off, but just stick with it and hopefully you can reach 10,000. Good luck!
- Do you have plans to submit any other Product Ideas in the future? If yes, can you give us a hint what that might be?
I’ve got a few ideas lined up which I’m hoping to find time to work on soon. Watch this space!
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