History of LEGO Brick Labels

History

It all started in October 2013 when I purchased the Architecture Studio set, which contains 1200 White and clear LEGO bricks which are perfect for building your own LEGO Architecture creations (including my LEGO Architecture 30-day challenge.) I started off with four Plano boxes, and quickly graduated to the Akro-Mils drawer cabinets with simple labels on each drawer.

In December 2013, I purchased 50 pounds of LEGO on craigslist. I wanted to separate out the most valuable sets, and keep the rest of the bricks to create my own LEGO models. I knew that the only practical way to do this was to meticulously sort the bricks so I could find the parts I needed to complete each set. This began my quest to learn how to sort a lot of LEGO efficiently, and figure out how to store all the bricks once they were sorted.

It did not take long for me to conclude storing your sorted bricks in clear plastic drawers makes it easy to find them when you need them. My favorite storage solution is the Akro-Mils cabinets which come with either 64 small drawers, 24 large drawers, or a combination of 32 small and 12 large drawers. Since most common LEGO components are very small, I find the small drawers are more useful as they take up less space. The large drawers are useful for larger parts which are very common, like the ubiquitous 2×4 LEGO brick.

Unfortunately, it is pretty hard to find the drawer you need when they are not labeled. That’s why I designed a collection of LEGO brick labels. I use the Brother P-touch printer because the labels are printed on a durable plastic material, and the adhesive sticks well to the plastic drawers. (The printer connects to your Mac or Windows PC.)

I decided to share my labels with other LEGO enthusiasts, because they are time consuming to make and I hoped that they would be helpful to others. This is when my “Brick Labels” version 1.0 was born. After two years of appreciation for sharing my labels with the world, I am confident that the labels look good and work really well!

Version History:

  • January 5, 2017: Version 2.8 adds 55 new labels, for a total of 955 different labels! The focus this time is on Minifigures, Animals, Minifig Accessories, Plants, and Nature. For this update, I made a decision to offer broad categories in some cases, such as generic categories for “Mammals”, “Guns”, or “Skis & Minifig Footwear”. With such a large (and growing!) number of relatively rare accessories and weapons, it doesn’t make sense to use a whole drawer for each unique minifig accessory. If you have a much larger collection that I do, or are running a BrickLink Store, you might want to sort your collection by specific accessory.

    Version 2.8 adds 55 new labels, with a focus on minifigures, accessories, animals, and plants.

    Version 2.8 adds 55 new labels, with a focus on minifigures, accessories, plants, and animals.

  • August 30, 2016: Version 2.7 update adds 50 new labels, for a total of 900 labels! There has been a focus on the many new elements released in the past couple years. I have done analysis of the most common elements based on currently available sets, ensuring the most common elements are already in the Label collection. To see the analysis, visit http://brickarchitect.com/bricks/. (The new labels are scattered across many different files, so please copy/paste only the labels you need before printing.)
    Some of the 50 new labels in version 2.7

    A sample of the 50 new labels in version 2.7

  • May 19, 2016: Version 2.6 is an unexpectedly MAJOR UPDATE, adding 78 new labels! (For a total of 850 labels!) The biggest change is the addition of a whole new collection – Wheels and Tires! This update also adds some common Bionicle / Constraction parts for model building. (NOTE: It is unlikely that I will ever add the more obscure Bionicle / Hero Factory parts representing faces, heads, hands, torso, armor, and other humanoid forms.)
    78 New labels in version 2.6 (May 19, 2016)

    Version 2.6 added 78 new labels.

  • May 3, 2016: Version 2.5 adds 31 new labels. I used data to ensure that the most common LEGO elements really are included in the label collection. I looked at only parts which were included in sets released since 2010. (Thanks to Huw @ Brickset for a good dataset to start with…) This analysis revealed some important gaps like #4599 1×1 Tap, #30153 Diamond w/ stick, #4079 Minifig Seat, #6126 Flame, #64567 Lightsaber Handle, #4349 Megaphone, #4697 Pneumatic T-piece. Even with this update, there are a few common parts which are still missing.
    New labels in version 2.5 (May 3, 2016)

    Version 2.5 added 31 new labels.

  • April 27, 2016: Version 2.4 adds 13 new labels and fixed minor consistency issues.
  • April 19, 2016: Version 2.3 includes 82 new labels, completing the TECHNIC label collection.
    Newly added Technic labels in version 2.3.

    Newly added Technic labels in version 2.3.

  • February 9, 2016: Version 2.2 includes 52 new labels, including a lot of new Panels and Windows. I also updated the “contact sheet” with the new labels.
  • December 13, 2015: Version 2.1 includes 43 new labels, and a convenient “contact sheet” that you can print to help you organize your bricks.
  • November 1, 2015: Version 2.0 doubled the number of labels in the collection. Labels are now organized into groups of related elements: Basic Elements (bricks, plates, tiles), SNOT Elements, Slopes, Wedges, Round, Curved, Clips/Hinges. Two additional groups are in “beta” because they aren’t complete: Technic, and ‘Other’. (I also moved the website to http://brickarchitect.com/labels/)
  • January 31, 2015: Version 1.8 includes 40 new labels! NEW: bricks_large, wedge_plate, wedge_brick, door_rails. UPDATED: fence, bricks_curved_more, cones, slopes_3
  • January 16, 2015: Version 1.7 includes fixed scripts to create your own brick label images using LDraw app. (also adds labels for some additional slope pieces.)
  • November 17, 2014: Version 1.6 adds 32 labels to the collection. (hinges, turntables, click hinges, clips, and handles)
  • September 30, 2014: Version 1.5 adds about 30 labels to the collection. (This is also when I moved the label collection to http://tomalphin.com/bricklabels)
  • September 17, 2014: Added a table of compatible Brother label printers at the bottom of this article.
  • September 13, 2014: Version 1.4 improves consistency and quality of text + images throughout the “All Labels” collection. This version also adds 8 new panel types, technic_pin_axle_connectors, and technic_misc labels.
  • September 10, 2014: Version 1.3 adds many of the most common Technic parts including: Pins, Axles, Technic Bricks, Ball + Socket, Technic Plates + Rotors, Connectors. Gears, Pulleys and other specialty parts will need to wait for another day.
  • May 30, 2014: Version 1.2 of this collection now includes most of the labels for a large general-purpose LEGO collection. Let me know if you like it by leaving a comment. Missing some important parts, let me know. In my next update, I hope to add common Technics pieces.
  • April 2, 2014: Version 1.0/1.1 included labels for all of the parts in the 21050 / Architecture Studio set, plus a few additional common bricks.

Bibliography

  • holly-wood.it “Adding unofficial LDraw parts to MLCad.” 2014.
    Instructions to add unofficial LEGO parts in bulk.
  • Ryan Howerter, “Color List.” 2015-Present.
    The most complete guide to LEGO Colors through history. Also see his excellent Photo Gallery of rare colors
  • Christoph Bartneck “The curious case of LEGO colors.” 2016.
    Expanding on Ryan’s work, the Peeron Database, and other sources, Christoph examines the mismatching CMYK, RGB, and Pantone colors cited for common LEGO colors. (No clear answers, but good analysis.)