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Mascot Design – 7 Tips Every Brand Needs to Hear

If one fictional character could carry the weight of representing your brand on its shoulders, wouldn’t it make things simpler? That’s exactly why brands go with mascots. Either in their logo or as a brand identity design to go with the logo. Think Tony the Tiger for The Kellogg Company. These characters have the power to humanize your brand. To make it easier to remember. And that’s why any effort spent on mascot design will be a productive investment for a brand. 

Mascot design by Kimp

But then, how do you design a mascot? Most mascots are humanized animals. Will they work for your brand? What if your brand has a professional ring to it? Will a mascot make it look less professional or childish? Well, it all depends on how you design your mascot. The character you choose, how you link it to your brand, and even the colors. 

That’s why we have put together a list of best practices and design tips for mascot design. Right from choosing the suitable colors to linking the mascot to your brand. Let’s go! 

But First, Do You Really Need a Mascot?

Here are a few reasons why a mascot is a worthy brand identity for brands big and small:

  • They provide a sense of community
  • By humanizing your brand, mascots make your brand appear more approachable 
  • They make you look more professional and serious about what you do 
  • Designed right, mascots instantly increase brand awareness 
  • Mascots add memorability 
  • And they make it easier to illustrate your idea and add consistency to your marketing materials

To know more about the benefits of a mascot for a brand and the different types of mascots you can choose, do check out our other blog here

And now let’s get to our topic – mascot design. We have some tips that will make your work simpler. 

Tips to Come Up With a Top-notch Mascot Design for Your Brand 

We would like to tell you right away that good mascot design involves more than just design. Everything from the core idea of your mascot to the way you link it with your brand’s personality has a part to play. And then there is the naming of the mascot and how exactly you use it in branding. Or how you align it with your existing branding and marketing designs. We’ll talk about all this and more. 

1. Coming up with the concept 

You’ve decided to design a mascot for your brand, great! But the real confusion begins when you sit to actually put down your concept on paper. To tackle this, have a productive brainstorming session with all the stakeholders. 

The marketing team might give you insights into the current market trends. The customer support team might be able to talk about customer queries and problems that can be addressed with a mascot. And the product design team might be able to talk about the traits of the product to highlight in the mascot. You need all these perspectives to come up with a mascot design concept. 

With all these ideas put together, jot down the following details before you approach a design team for the mascot design project: 

  • Do you need a humanized animal or humanized object mascot or an actual human character
  • Come up with some name ideas for your mascot. Depending on whether your mascot names sound witty or serious, your designer will be able to plan the mood of your mascot
  • What kind of story will your mascot convey?
  • Do you want the mascot to be a standalone character or will there be multiple characters creating a story?
Mascot design by Kimp

When you have multiple mascots as in the above example, each can be for a particular product line. This way, when you create general marketing designs, they can appear together. Or when these are promotions for individual product lines, these mascots can appear independently. 

But when you do have multiple characters, ensure that they look similar on various levels. For example, similar costumes. 

2. Know what works with your consumers 

There are people who actually buy or pay for your product. And then there are those that use the product. There might not always be an overlap between these sections. 

For example, if you look at toy brands like Lego, your customers, or the people who transact with your business, are grownups, the adults in the family. But the consumers, the actual users of the product are kids and teens. So, the brand should know how to appeal to kids so they will notice and express interest in the product. 

Having established that fact, let’s get back to our mascot design discussion. So, the design idea for your mascot, its name, colors, and other little things should appeal to the actual consumers. Or in other words, it should appeal to kids in the case of brands like Lego in the above example. It should have an overall friendly, cheerful, and possibly playful mood. 

Kimp Tip: Designing a mascot suitable for your actual users goes beyond the actual character. For example, you will mostly find animal mascots being used for brands targeting kids or a family audience. And human mascots for brands that target grownups. But look at the mascots below. 

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Mascot design by Kimp
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Mascot design by Kimp

The first one, despite being a human character, has all the traits to make it suitable for the younger audience. And the second one, despite being an animal mascot, fits into the specifications of a brand targeting adults. As you can see, a lot can be changed by altering your mascot’s attire, body language, and expression. 

For such intricately optimized mascots for your brand, choose a Kimp subscription today. 

3. Choose your colors wisely 

Your brand color will be an integral part of the design. But there will be other colors as well. There are many places where you can add colors. The body of the character, its outfit, and any special accessories or props that the character carries.  

Though there are many elements in the design, try to keep the color palette simple. Too many colors might distract your customers away from the brand color. 

The other consideration while choosing colors for your mascot design will be the application. Will your mascot appear directly on your marketing designs? Or will you be creating scenes where your mascot is used to tell a story? In all these cases, the color palette you use for your mascot should appear consistent or should complement the color palette of the scene or the overall design. 

If you want your mascot design to look consistent with your existing marketing materials, add them as references. Based on your existing visual identity, your design team will be able to come up with the optimal color palette for your mascot. 

Mascots 

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Mascot design by Kimp

A scene created in harmony with the mascots 

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Mascot design by Kimp

Kimp Tip: Always choose harmonious color combinations for your mascot design. These are colors that look good together without fighting for attention. 

Finding it difficult to come up with the color palette for your mascot? Don’t worry, the Kimp team can take care of that. 

4. Allow room for customization 

One of the most important details to consider while designing a mascot is the scope for customization. Irrespective of the illustration style and the character you should be able to customize the mascot to suit the occasion. 

Customizations could be simple changes in body language as you see in the below example. This is useful when you have to use your mascot on your website to point to critical sections. Or make navigation and communication simpler on a landing page. 

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Mascot design by Kimp

You can also customize the outfit so as to promote different product lines or capture different moods based on the message in your ad. 

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Mascot design by Kimp

Another type of customization will be customizing the appearance of the mascot for the occasion. Your mascot can wear green in your promotions for St. Patrick’s Day and red for Christmas-related posts and ads. 

5. Emotions can make a huge difference 

We spoke about the difference that the expressions of the mascot can make when we discussed optimizing the design for the audience. Let’s elaborate on that. 

When you want to sell something to your customers you talk about the product and its price. But branding is more than that. You want to build a relationship with your customers. And you want them to choose your brand over your competitors. For this, you should be able to connect with them at an emotional level. 

For example, if you visit a fast food joint and like the food there, but you do not like the ambiance or the attitude of the staff, you might still not choose the place again. Or even if you have to, you might choose takeaway over dine-in. Because the product was good but the experience was not. So, every brand needs to highlight the experience they offer instead of talking about the product alone. How do you do that? How do you say that your brand is friendly, or reliable

Connecting such descriptors with your brand will be difficult with words alone. You need visuals. And your mascot can do this easily. We’ll give you an example. Look at the below mascots. 

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Mascot design by Kimp
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Mascot design by Kimp

Between the two mascots above, which one passes off as a representative of a brand that’s friendlier or more approachable? The second one, right? We know you did not find it difficult to grasp that. Your customers wouldn’t either! 

The overall mood of the first mascot design is more serious and strong. Emotions like these are more suitable for sports teams, online gaming platforms, and other similar brands. Friendlier and happier-looking mascots are more suitable for brands with a family audience. 

6. The illustration style you prefer 

Even the same character looks very different depending on the illustration style you choose. The below designs show how different illustration styles can be used in mascot design. 

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Mascot design by Kimp
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Mascot design by Kimp

Both these styles work. A lot depends on the visual style of the rest of your marketing materials. Including your website design as well. For example, if you have all 3D elements on your website, a flat 2D mascot might look out of place. So, choose coherent styles for your mascot and the rest of your marketing materials. 

See how effortlessly the mascot blends into these brand illustrations. 

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Illustration by Kimp
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Illustration by Kimp
7. Where will your mascot be used? 

There is one final detail to factor in – the placement and the application of the mascot. Because designs that look on a computer screen do not always look as good in print. If you need a lot of print designs featuring your mascot, you need to be sure that your design is optimized for print as well. 

And if you will have people dress up as your mascots for company events, then your design should be practical enough so a costume can be created. 

Consider the effect the character has on the viewers on different scales. Because you want your mascot to look as friendly or as powerful on a billboard as it does on your website or social media ad. 

Simplify Mascot Design for Your Brand With Kimp 

With all the above-mentioned ingredients, mascot design will be a smooth process. Once you have your ideas ready, consider the trends in your industry and your competitors’ mascots while finalizing your design. You do not want to be working with a character that looks very similar to that of any other brand in your industry. Or even a character that looks like a rip-off of some popular mascot. What’s the easiest way to make all this happen? A Kimp Graphics subscription. From creating a custom character for you to customizing it for your marketing materials, our team takes care of everything. 

So, what are you waiting for? Start your 7-day free trial today. 

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