Giving a face to a subject

With a mascot or an identification figure, a high degree of recognition and identification can be achieved. It seems much more personal and likable when a character provides explanations, training, and guidance than when these are given impersonally and abstractly. And, of course, such characters are also great for storytelling.

Forefather and cult figure: Globi

Some figures have achieved cult status. They have fan clubs and lead a life of their own, detached from their (commercial) origins. Globi, the blue parrot, is one such example. He has accompanied generations of Swiss kids in their childhood. He had his roots in an anniversary of the Globus department store. But in the course of history, this was practically forgotten. Globi took on a life of his own and became a book's protagonist.

Has accompanied generations of children in Switzerland: Globi has become a cult figure. - ©Orell Füssli Ltd, Globi Verlag, Imprint Orell Füssli Verlag

Description for strategic alignment

Like the protagonists in motion pictures, mascots can be given a distinctive profile. And they can have an entourage that embodies other idiosyncrasies. For strategic use, creators of such identification figures should think about and describe them before modeling. This is part of it:

  • What should be achieved with the figure?
  • Who should be reached?
  • What character traits should the character possess as a result?
  • What does she need to look like to be coherent?
  • Does she need friends or even antagonists?
  • How should they be characterized?

The more precisely the figure is described, the more tangible it becomes. A similar technique is used in marketing to understand target audiences and plan specifically tailored measures: personas are the name given to these visualizations of target groups.

3D characters come to life

The "innards" of 3D figures: rig that allows the figures to be animated in all imaginable poses.

With the shaping - the modeling - as a 3D character, the protagonist receives spatiality, materiality, and a contemporary look. In addition, a model provided with a so-called "rig" can also be made to pose or even move like a plasticine figure.

Rigging is the process of constructing a rig (skeleton) from bones and joints. This determines how the individual parts of a polygon mesh can be moved (the polygon mesh is the basis of 3D figures). Then the rig can be coupled with the mesh. After that, possible errors are corrected during skinning.

The characters in our example are from a campaign for a local waste center. Their names are B-Ringli, Baggy, and Coolio. They represent the range of items that the center accepts. As key visuals, they appeared in bus ads, newspaper ads, bins, flags, stamp cards, newspaper signage, and more.

That's how the three rogues came into being.

Three arguments in favor of character design

  • Sharpening the profile and tangibility: You can transfer the values and attributes from your corporate identity to a character.
  • Likability: Beings are inherently more endearing than mere logos. And children will have positive memories of a mascot that accompanied them through childhood.
  • Opportunity for storytelling: A character can experience adventures that explain the company's or product's values or present facts in an understandable way. Stories are an ancient technique for making things understandable. Storytelling can therefore be used strategically and didactically.

Character design and 3D specialists

Do you want a character designed for your company, product, or campaign? Then you have come to the right place. Please feel free to contact us for a non-binding consultation.