- This article is about a theme. For the video game of the same name go to creator (video game).
Creator is a theme introduced by LEGO in 2001 consisting mainly of sets with a selection of classic bricks, often with idea books containing several model ideas. Its introduction may have been influenced by the often repeated AFOL suggestion that they should go back to the kind of sets they had in the 70s and 80s, which encouraged more free playsal.
Creator sets know almost no bounds when it comes to size. The smallest of them are microscale, such as the 4915 Mini Construction set, while others are quite large, such as the Model Town House(4954) with 1174 pieces. There are also sets of many sizes between the two mentioned. During the first several years of production of Creator sets, some were made in which the main model was minifig scale, but there were no minifigs included in the set. Take Beach House(4996) set from 2008 for example. All three houses for which the set includes instructions have minifig scale doors, windows and a table. The main model even has a minifig scale grill. Some people postulate that TLC did not include minifigs in some of these sets for a couple of reasons. First, the Creator sets were designed to be mostly theme neutral, and minifigs often appear to have a specific function or job, making them associate the set with whatever theme is connected to that job. Second, TLC wanted Creator sets to have a more open ended idea towards play. The person building with the set could make the minifig scale model from the instructions, but they certainly did not have to stay within that scale to have an enjoyable experience. The concept of making something that was different from the instructions was part of the whole idea, making play with the set more mentally engaging.
In 2009 TLC began including minifigs in some of the sets. However, they still also made minifig scale sets without minifigs, along with other Creator sets that were either smaller or larger than minifig scale. The sets that included minifigs did lean toward certain themes, but the part assortments in the sets made it obvious that they were still part of the Creator line. The Castle Building(6193) Set from 2009, for instance, has a minifig that is clearly castle themed, plus the set's name bears the word Castle. However, the brick-built horse and other pieces in the set clearly did not fit in with the fantasy castle line from 2009.
Creator sets are a useful source for durable storage containers. Most LEGO sets come in a cardboard box, but several Creator sets come in a plastic bucket or tub. Many LEGO collectors (not just AFOLs) keep these sturdy buckets and tubs for storing their pieces, although AFOLs are generally the only ones to obtain large numbers of them and use them for organized sorting. The lids of many of the buckets and tubs from Creator sets have oversized studs on them to resemble the studs on real LEGO pieces. Unfortunately TLC has made a few different styles of studded lids over the years, and not all of them are compatible stack-wise.
Jamie Berard is a set designer for TLC who works in the Creator line. According to Jamie, Creator sets do not get new pieces molded just for them. Of course, the designers for the line have access to new pieces from other themes which they can use. Creator sets also get a minimal amount of "color shift" pieces. (A color shift is when TLC takes an existing piece and makes it in a color in which it is not currently being produced.)