If you’ve decided to create a mascot your team, school, organization or event, the big question is what kind of mascot would everyone love? Are you starting from a blank canvas or do you already have some design ideas?
There are several ways to decide on a mascot character; for example, using your logo, a play on a team name, or an object associated with your event. Choosing the type of character is the first step. Everything else falls out of that: colours, facial expressions, body shape, props, attire, fabrics.
Here are some questions to answer when deciding on your character.
1. Do you already have a character that could be used for your mascot?
If your organization already has a character being used on logos, or in other print material, you need to decide if your new mascot will be based on that.
Frequently, sports teams are named after animals or warriors from different historical periods - and may even have an out-dated mascot costume. The decision is then whether you would like to stick with the same appearance, or update the look of your character.
Companies may want a mascot character that represents a specific product they manufacture. A mascot costume can be created that looks like the physical product, replicating packaging details and labels. Do you want to engage people with your product at a launch even before they purchase? A product mascot may be the answer. You may also wish to consider giving your product some personality by adding a character face!
2. If you don’t have a character in mind, what is the purpose or key message that you want your mascot to represent?
If you are starting from scratch, without any associations with specific animals or products, look at your marketing purpose or messaging for ideas. Like a logo, your mascot will be a symbol of your brand or organization and you want to be sure that your core values are reflected in the design.
The marketing objective will help narrow down the field of mascot characters. For example, if your objective is to promote a regional area, then a historic character or a geographic reference / industry, could be a good choice. If your objective is to promote a cause, for example, childhood literacy, you may want a character that children easily relate to, like an animal.
3. What type of mascot would be a good match for your marketing purpose?
Sources of inspiration for mascot character ideas include: local references to a person or industry, historic figures, event themes, animal traits that relate to your message, emotions you want to trigger, logo elements, design eras, cultural themes, geographic references, fantasy animals and characters.
Generally, there are three types of mascot characters.
- People – warriors, royalty, superheroes, knights, cowboys or relatable modern-day characters such as an average teenager, a doctor, a person in work wear or uniform, etc.
- Animals – bears, birds, cats, insects, monsters, reptiles, etc.
- Inanimate Objects (of course they will be animated once we’re done with them) – cans, newspapers, vehicles, recycling bins, etc.
4. Who is the audience?
A cornerstone of marketing and communications involves identifying the target audience. While a mascot will appeal to everyone, you should identify the key audience group you are trying to reach.
Young children are obviously drawn to furry characters that mimic soft toys, and older children are ready to interact with cartoon type characters, dressed in bright colours and with comic expressions. College or sports team fans will love a powerful, athletic mascot that can represent their winning, competitive attitude.
If you still have no idea what mascot character you’d like after considering these four questions - don’t worry. Our team of mascot designers are always ready to help! Send us your logo or product photo, and we’ll help you work through the design concept process.