As far as cool jobs go, LEGO designer pretty much sits right up their with Netflix tagger and waterslide tester.
We talked to Cara Malorey-Vibert to find out what it takes to work at the coveted toy brand.
Has design always been a passion of yours?
Ever since studying design technology in school. I was always very enthusiastic about the subject and got very high grades. It also helped that my teachers were amazing!
Growing up did you ever imagine you would work for LEGO?
Never! I would have been happy working for a small design agency. I just worked exceptionally hard to get where I am now.
What did you study at college?
Product Design at Plymouth University
Talk us through your career to date.
I have always been a hard worker, I have been a pool/beach lifeguard trainer assessor, surf instructor, swimming teacher etc. all before starting university. During university, I started my own freelance design company and ended up designing websites for local companies in Jersey. I then graduated and moved to London to start designing for a swimming products company. Later, I moved onto LEGO in Denmark after getting through the grueling interview processes.
How did you end up with LEGO?
I applied for a position. My final design project in university (I made a LEGO drone experience for LEGOland) made me stand out from the crowd and they offered me a job.
Has it been everything you hoped it would be?
It has been awesome! Everything is just as fun as you think it would be.
What qualities does LEGO look for in new hires?
Design innovation and standing out from the crowd. They like dreamers that design the impossible. They like people who have a passion for LEGO but also have other hobbies and a life. I had my sport and an excessive amount of hard work running a lifesaving club and working full time as well as getting my degree. They liked the fact I excelled in uni even whilst doing my hobbies. Apparently, that is rare.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your job?
They think I play with LEGO all day. It’s so hard to build out a LEGO that actually looks good enough to be put in a box! Let alone it passing all of the tests.
Believe it or not, there are bricks that are banned from certain age products as they are too fiddly. There are different play types for different genders, cultures and also generations of children. This makes the way we build completely different. It’s not just building it is also being behind the computer innovating and researching our target group. We also do play tests with local and abroad children etc. There is a lot more too it.
Is your job 9-5 or always on?
It’s 8am-4pm in Denmark. They don’t like you doing overtime as they want you to have a life outside of work. Sometimes you do have to do overtime but you get that time off another day.
How do you get a good work-life balance?
Have hobbies as well as work. This helps you to enjoy your life and also gives your mind a break from innovating. I choose sport because it gives your mind a break whilst also gaining positive endorphins. If I ever get frustrated with a design I just go for a run and come back. Then I work that extra hour later as I missed an hour in my day.
Do you have any side hustles?
I do freelance design work for websites and graphics.
Who has been your biggest role model?
James Dyson. For a company I would say IDEO, they design to change the world more so than designing to sell.
What’s the biggest career lesson you have learned to date?
Put yourself first. Don’t just live in a place for your career if you aren’t happy your work will deteriorate. Once you move to a place you are happy you will find success. Your work will show if you are happy or not. Also, make sure you put yourself out of your comfort zone. If something scares you…do it!
What advice would you give someone looking to work in design?
Be the purple cow out of all the brown cows. Read ‘How to be a Purple Cow’ and you will then understand the steps to success in design. Design for change. Let’s make this world a better place.
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