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Sticker? Hardly know her...

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Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby kelano28 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:08 pm

Ok well I'm new here and I apologize as this has probably been answered 800 times before...

But are the stickers going to stop/lessen anytime soon? I presume its budget related and printed bricks (large ones especially) are more costly to make, but when I put a lot of stickers on a set it feels less and less like a Lego model. That's just my view, but in any case can we expect any changes?

Thank you
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby Solo » Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:27 pm

1: Great title. You should really start more threads. ;)
2: Sadly, the stickers are the wave of the future. :( Going back to printing would be rather costly, and no one wants sets to go up in price more than they have to. And, I want to toss this in even though you didn't ask about this, I think it's safe to assume minifigs will dodge this particular bullet, because LEGO is smart enough to realize there would be an all out uprising if those started showing up as blanks. *crosses fingers*
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby TheThrasher » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:01 pm

Actually, minifigs might possibly be going in that direction. I know that some sets at the Toy Fair are still preliminary, but look at this picture of a Space Police officer. If you look at the torso and legs, you can clearly see that both have stickers on them. I really do hope that isn't perminant, but if it is, then I'm going to start loosing alot of faith in LEGO.
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby Draykov » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:37 pm

If anything, minifigs are going in the opposite direction. It's not uncommon to see preliminary minifigs with stickers in place of printing...but these days we have minifigs with printing on both sides and these stickers would seem to indicate that SPIII will have printing not just on toros but also the legs.
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby Solo » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:10 pm

Yeah, they simply didn't have the printed torsos ready to debut. I knew someone was going to see that and get worried.
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby bigospedros » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:34 am

actually, it's interesting to bring minifigs into this debate ... I think for most Lego fans, if they were given the choice of less printing on minifigs to get printed parts back, we'd say no.

Especially since that the stickers on the more recent sets are so much more longer lasting (it seems) than those on older sets.

My only wish is that Lego would continue to keep large stockpiles of stickers from older sets so that we can replace them if they crumble over time. My 2nd hand RGS (original version) looks bare without stickers but I cannot bring myself to spend £25 on some stickers!
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby speaknspell » Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:17 am

Stickers on sets are simply a way for Designers to keep more bricks in the set. some parts of a set require a image on the brick and the designers have the choice to make a sticker sheet, which equals 1 element (in the design process a sticker sheet equals an element due to the costs of producing it, think graphic design), or to print on a brick which will require them to remove several bricks due to the additional cost.

The sticker sheet is generally chosen based on the idea that we want more bricks in the children's hands as opposed to less + a printed brick. We see there being more value with more brick.

As far as minifigs are concerned the only time you'll generally see stickers are licenced themes like ferrari where another company's logo is involved. It hasn't always been true (older Ferrari, Shell, etc) but the practice now is that we don't print another company logo on our bricks. Anyone who's built a minifig scale ferrari set has probably wondered at the torso stickers, and this is the reason.

To confirm what the others have said, the Toy Fair sets are generally early build ups of the sets that were put together before the production process ever went into full effect. That's why you'll see incomplete minifigs (from the printing perspective) from time to time.

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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby bigospedros » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:24 am

Steve ... thanks for that answer ... interesting re : other company logos.

Regards this point ...

bigospedros wrote:My only wish is that Lego would continue to keep large stockpiles of stickers from older sets so that we can replace them if they crumble over time. My 2nd hand RGS (original version) looks bare without stickers but I cannot bring myself to spend £25 on some stickers!


... do you think this is ever likely to happen ?
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby speaknspell » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:19 am

re: stockpiling stickers

I know that for consumer service purposes the stickers seem to work on the same pattern as regular parts. once a set goes inactive then the parts are essentially held until they run out. Especially in the case of sticker sheets, they'll have their roll of them and once they're gone they're gone.

As far as doing future runs, I don't know enough about the printing process to answer that effectively, but I'll do some research.

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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby bigospedros » Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:50 pm

much appreciated ... :)

note : I would gladly pay Lego Customer Services for them sending me replacement stickers so long as the price was reasonable. I can't imagine it would cost a massive amount to print a sticker sheet, even if the set was old (unless you have to re-make the print "template" then I guess it might cost more)
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby natelite » Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:24 pm

bigospedros wrote:much appreciated ... :)

note : I would gladly pay Lego Customer Services for them sending me replacement stickers so long as the price was reasonable. I can't imagine it would cost a massive amount to print a sticker sheet, even if the set was old (unless you have to re-make the print "template" then I guess it might cost more)


Of course! Anyone would. The problem though is ppl often forget about storage cost as well as setup cost. To store a single template isn't expensive but if we're talking about 10-20 years of production and around 20-30 sets a year, then it begin to stack up.

While the incremental cost of printing is very low, the setup cost is extremely high. You need to shut down a machine, change the template, restart the machine, run a few test prints, before you can generate the production prints. After you have enough production runs, you gotta shut down the machine and switch the template again.

What this means is that if there isn't a steady demand for the stickers (ie if it's not part of a production run where you can forecast the demand and the required no of stickers to produce), then the cost of running a small batch production definitely exceeds printing these stickers from your house printer.

I would think the more elegant solution would be if TLG can make available their sticker template (in pdf for eg) for fans to download once a set goes out of production, so that we can at least replace the worned out stickers on our own.

what do you think of this suggestion, steve?
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby Galagoo » Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:45 pm

natelite wrote:I would think the more elegant solution would be if TLG can make available their sticker template (in pdf for eg) for fans to download once a set goes out of production, so that we can at least replace the worned out stickers on our own.

Hey, I was just thinking of the same thing. I think it would be a great idea, being pretty easy to do for LEGO (I suppose, at least). Printing them on our own wouldn't probably be too hard a thing to do, either.

Now, if LEGO would also start selling some quality-yet-rather-cheap sticker paper.. ;)
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby bigospedros » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:14 am

But that places the burden on the consumer to have a printer which is capable of creating stickers of the same quality as Lego. I'm not sure I have that nor would I want to invest in them.

I don't think it would be a massive issue for them to print off a mass of spares and then store them and sell them to customers who need them. They could circumvent the whole problem in future by providing 2 sticker sheets with each set, although obviously that doesn't solve the problem of the legacy sets.

It would certainly be interesting to know how much of an issue storing print blocks is. How do you know, for example, if it's not all digital these days and in fact, the only issue is finding the file, loading it into a computer and then pressing "go" ?

I did my work experience in a printers some 15 years ago and even then they were largely digital !
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby natelite » Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:53 pm

bigospedros wrote:But that places the burden on the consumer to have a printer which is capable of creating stickers of the same quality as Lego. I'm not sure I have that nor would I want to invest in them.

I don't think it would be a massive issue for them to print off a mass of spares and then store them and sell them to customers who need them. They could circumvent the whole problem in future by providing 2 sticker sheets with each set, although obviously that doesn't solve the problem of the legacy sets.

It would certainly be interesting to know how much of an issue storing print blocks is. How do you know, for example, if it's not all digital these days and in fact, the only issue is finding the file, loading it into a computer and then pressing "go" ?

I did my work experience in a printers some 15 years ago and even then they were largely digital !


hmm, you're right. storage of template should be simple. for some reason i was thinking of the press machines. XD

i don't think they would want to print massive spares to store though. paper is one of the hardest material to store. it's prone to the elements (yellowing, water damage for eg). i dont think tlg will want to dedicate a watertight warehouse to stickers.

i like your idea of providing 2 sticker sheets with each set. that's clearly a very simple, cheap, and workable solution. maybe it should be 3-4 sticker sets instead of just 2. XD you never know when you need the third or fourth set!
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby speaknspell » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:05 pm

I think a lot of cost on sticker sheets come in the form of the die cuts that allow the removal of the stickers as well. I'm not sure what the set up is on something like that.

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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby Walter Kovacs » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:50 pm

I find it funny every time someone complains about stickers in sets. It's not like it's a new phenomenon. This set had a minifig with a stickered torso, and it was released in 1979 (it's also one of the oldest sets I own). If anything, stickered minifig torsos would be returning to LEGO's roots.

BTW, the sticker on the minifig torso is still in excellent shape. A little worn, but what do you expect after 30 years of play wear?
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby Draykov » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:44 pm

Just because they're not new doesn't mean people can't prefer printed pieces. I hate stickers. I don't use 'em. While I do think they can bring a lot to a set, I just abhor the notion of putting them all over my brick (particularly when a single sticker covers more than one brick). Do I understand why LEGO uses them? Sure. Do I like the notion of having more brick per set? Sure. Would I rather see a single 1x2 printed tile with a computer pattern in place of a whole sheet of stickers? Yes.
Last edited by Draykov on Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby bigospedros » Sat Feb 21, 2009 4:00 am

speaknspell wrote:I think a lot of cost on sticker sheets come in the form of the die cuts that allow the removal of the stickers as well. I'm not sure what the set up is on something like that.

Steve


That's a fair point ... which kind of adds to the benefits of printing a load of spares at the time of production - but again, doesn't help us for old sets. All in all, it sounds like we've created you a little research project here then ;)

At the end of the day, I don't mind if Lego makes a profit on it ... and I don't mind paying for duplicate sticker sheets, so long as the price is reasonable. I'd also much rather give the money for duplicates to Lego rather than some re-seller on Bricklink or ebay.

I look forward to getting some more, and hopefully positive, feedback on this issue :)
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby MrCRskater » Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:44 am

bigospedros wrote:That's a fair point ... which kind of adds to the benefits of printing a load of spares at the time of production


Printing several extra sheets during production to hold as back-stock - though cheaper than printing a second run of stickers after the fact - still would not be cost-effective for TLG, because there isn't any guarantee that they would sell all of those sheets. I've experienced this first-hand in coordinating t-shirt sales for events; you have to have a pretty firm idea of how many you'll sell, 'cause if you make more than you can shuck, you're in the hole (by a pretty fair margin), and taking special orders is about 3 times the cost of producing in bulk. LEGO is looking to maximize their profits, and the only way to ensure maximum profit is to only print what they need to distribute with the sets. Could they make more by offering post-production sticker sheets? Maybe. But they could just as easily lose money on it, too.
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Re: Sticker? Hardly know her...

Postby bigospedros » Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:31 pm

I'm not stupid enough to realise that there is a risk element in doing this kind of post-production offer and I would fully expect Lego to take that into account. If Steve comes back and says "nope, sorry, the risk factor of the company losing money is too much" then I would accept that. I would however know that they'd at least considered it.

I think, for licenced sets, then they're always likely to be demand ... you just have to look at Bricklink prices to see that. So, in that case, if they limited this kind of process to just those sets then they're more likely to have less risk.

It also depends on how long they would be happy to tie up cost in stock. If they don't mind how long it takes to get rid of them all, then the risk factor is further diminished.

Anyways, let's see what Steve comes back with ... as has been pointed out in this thread, *if* it transpires that keeping stocks is not required, because they can cost effectively produce stickers in an on-demand process, then all they need to do is start to offer the stickers to their customers via their own site.
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