Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Wonderful World Of Mascots -Part 1

What is a Mascot?
It an animal, human or any other kind of object, which is used in the branding of a company/website. They are used to identify a brand, and they typically indicate the kind of ideals the brand represents, for example, friendliness etc. A mascot is usually cute, friendly and sweet, and on occasions, it may also be kind of silly . Mascots are also used on advertising material.

Nowadays we see a lot of sites using mascot for their companies. It’s a nice way to represent the image of the brand and just by looking at the mascot, instantly a relation is built between the user and the brand.
Some mascots are integrated with the logo while for some sites mascot plays the role of a guiding character:
For a brand name like twitter, the birdie mascot is a representation of the concept – the birdie tweets around the web space.
Silverback usability testing application has a Guerrilla mascot on the very homepage to welcome the visitors
Application launch screen

Website homepage

In freelancer/ personal sites the mascot is designed as a digital avatar of the person:

In the web world everyone wants to see the face of the person they are interacting with, due to which the avatars are being consumed like hot cakes and in the current generation, who does not want to go for global identification AKA ‘Gravatar’.

Existence of Mascot before web2.0:

It seems, not only in these times, but earlier also, mascot has always been a symbolic figure that gives an identity to the brand.
Take the case of the roaring ‘Lion’ for American media company MGM (Metro Goldwyn Mayer) that we have been seeing since ages. It is a well established mascot.
‘Ronald’ our very own friendly clown and famous name after Santa, has been the most recognized mascot for McDonald’s.

Mascots in web2.0 era:

Interestingly designers have now moved away from real life characters to fun loving non-naturalistic mascots. Such mascots are seen playing around the web page with amusing expression and web users are loving the new found friendly fantasy characters.
Prior to web 2.0, the companies would sue if someone tried to modify their mascot, but now the companies are happy to see their mascots being played around, as it makes their brand more popular. Not only this but brands do push similar contests, allowing the users to create mascot oriented icons, wallpapers, blog themes and so on.
So, can you think of other mascots which have brought recognition to a brand, so much so that the brand logo got eclipsed by it’s mascot.
One of the best example in today’s world is none other than Twitter. Just have a look how people have “creativized” the birdie mascot, and trust me, this is just the tip of an iceberg.

Few more samples of contemporary mascots:

Mascot , Popular website mascot , twitter , 
aviary.com , torgraphics.com

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