Why It’s Important To Get a ‘Cute’ Mascot or Character Design Just Right
Whether you are designing a character to advertise a business or product, or you’re designing a character for something like a video game or graphic novel, there are times when you want to make your characters cute and appealing in a specific way.
Of course, using cuteness as a way of appealing to people is nothing new and has been done very successfully by a lot of brands. You only have to look at some of the games available for mobile apps, or the games on sites like bigsamo.com to see how cute characters are used to draw people in and are used especially in things aimed at children.
However, even when the intention is to make a character cute, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. The wrong look can turn a character or mascot from visually appealing to annoying or even creepy!
Here we take a look at some of the ways you can be sure that the characters you design do have the cute factor.
What Happens When Cute Characters Look Wrong
Sometimes, characters that were intended to be cute actually come across looking a little bit uncanny. Equally, things that were considered cute at certain periods in time no longer fit with what we expect in design terms now. A good example of this is the old 1920s style of animation that you can see in very early Disney cartoons. While this is being used in games like Cuphead to create a very specific look and feel, we no longer tend to see these things as cute in the same way as more modern things like Pikachu, for example, or Hello Kitty. If your characters don’t fit with the common modern perception of what is cute then they won’t have the effect that you’re looking for.
Learn From Japanese Mascots!
A good place to look for inspiration when it comes to design and cute characters in mascots is Japanese art. In Japan, mascots have been a big part of commercial culture for a very long time and there are mascots for just about everything from kitchen towels to plumbing companies! While some of these things may look a little strange to people outside of Japan, there is no doubt that the Japanese have got it down when it comes to making cute illustrations. Whether you look at mainstream things like Pokémon, or anime characters, you can get a good idea from these to inspire your own cute designs.
Compare Characters to Get Ideas of What Makes Something Cute
There are some things that people automatically assume make a character appealing in the sense of being cute. Big eyes, for example, on animals or people are something that is normally used. However, you can really only get a sense of what has that elusive cute factor when you compare different existing characters.
Try taking a look at a selection of Pokémon, for instance. If you look at any generation from the Pokémon franchise you will see that some characters are very cute, whereas others are designed to look more menacing or tough. Analysing these images and comparing what the cute ones have in common can help you identify things that you can use to create a similar effect in your own work.
Sometimes, what is cute is subjective. However, for something to have mass appeal and work well as a cute mascot or game character, it is important to look at the elements that have gone into existing successful characters of this type.