It's not every day that a children's toy becomes a design icon but in the case of LEGO's minifigure, those tiny plastic male and female figurines that animate (in an inanimate sort of way) children's building block creations the world over, icon status seems oddly fitting.

Lego

Click here to see a selection of minifigure milestones.
2008 marks the minifigure's thirtieth year in production - an impressive milestone in design as much as business, considering that the basic look of the figurine has remained virtually unchanged since its inception - a body, three LEGO bricks long, beneath a head, one brick high, with that mini plastic toupee clipped on top.
When you consider that an astonishing seven LEGO sets are sold around the world every second, it's no surprise that the miniature builders, firemen, cops, and nurses (as well as 'celebrity' guest figures including Darth Vader and Indiana Jones) have become so ubiquitous - over four billion are scattered around the globe. If they ever decided to form their own autonomous state it'd be more populous than India and China combined. Now there's a scary thought.