Our resident in-house creative, Vicki Knapton, couldn’t believe her luck when she was tasked with designing a series of LEGO books. She admits, “I kind of chuckled, ’cause no one in my adult life really knows what an influence LEGOs had on me. When I got to design Jennifer Kemmeter’s Build It! book series, it truly felt like a full-circle moment.” Here, Vicki chats with our publishing director about her love for the classic toy.
What do you do at GAB?
VK: In short, I am a graphic designer and I also handle the print production.
And what is your background?
VK: LEGOs (joking). No, I have a degree in graphic communications. I started my career as a project coordinator and graphic designer for a corporate awards manufacturer, and have worked in publishing for the past sixteen years.
Do you remember getting your first LEGO set?
VK: Yes, I was six. I believe it was a birthday gift from a family friend. It was the kitchen set. I remember being amazed at the details . . . food on the little tile plates, coffeemaker, stove . . . Mind blown.
And from there, that was it for you?
VK: Pretty much. I became totally obsessed. I was a pretty shy kid. . . . I had no problem spending literally hours in my bedroom building things. Not to sound cliché, but LEGOs were my escape.
Did you have a particular thing you liked to build?
VK: I was ALL about architecture. I loved to build houses . . . buildings like hospitals, baseball stadiums, airports. Restaurants . . . whatever. I actually took photographs of my “creations” and cataloged them.
Were you more of a by-the-instructions kinda gal, or a freestyler?
VK: LOL. A little bit of both I think. I loved to build what the box contained . . . step by step, I think I felt challenged by the idea of building these complex structures. But after I did the initial build, I felt limited and wanted to take it further using my other LEGOs.
Do you feel LEGOs had any influence on your career choice?
VK: Totally. From as early as I can remember, I wanted to be in design. Honestly, I didn’t know what that meant at the time, really until college. But I just knew that I really wanted to create things . . . design them, build them. For a long time I thought it would be really cool if you could somehow build scale models and use that to build real-size architecture. Mind you, this was when I was probably eleven. I think I recently read that someone is actually doing this. Cool!
Where did all your LEGOs end up?
VK: As it turns out, the tradition continued and my nephew inherited them. Only about five years ago, my dad called me and asked if it would be alright if he sent them to him. I love that my dad had the courtesy and empathy to know that, even as an adult, I might be sad to see them go.
Any last words?
VK: This might sound corny, but I feel I really owe a lot to LEGOs. Who knows if I would have found this creative spark without their influence. I think if you see a kid who is in to something to that extreme . . . doesn’t matter what it is . . . maybe let them harness it and don’t just assume it’s a phase. I am living proof that your childhood hobby can become your life’s path.