We enjoy the character design process. As graphic designers, it gives us the chance to create brand new characters and original stories. After we understand what our clients want to achieve with their creative design, we use that to create and develop their characters. When doing this, there are important questions you should answer to ensure you create engaging characters that have an impact.

 

illustration of chef

 

1. What's Their Story?

Every character needs a story.

Without a story, you can't have a character and if you don't have a character, you don't have a story. We have a "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" scenario.

Before we even get our pencils to paper, we plot out a character's story. Stories can teach people very important lessons, that's why they're very beneficial teaching tools.

 

sketched storyboard

 

If you want to teach young pupils that they need to be polite to other people or how to cross the road safely, the character's story will be a lesson for them. Asking what the character's story is can help you decide whether it will be a concept that will engage with the audience it's aimed at.

2. Will They Be Relateable?

When creating characters that are designed to educate students, of any age, they have to be relatable. The best kinds of characters are those who engage with audiences.

Sam and Sammie are two characters we created for Doncaster council to help improve attendance in over 100 schools. Sam and Sammie are pupils who are always running late for school. As pupils, they're already relatable to primary school students and they have a common objective: making sure they get to school on time.

 

NM_SamAndSammie.jpg

 

Your characters won't have an impact if they're not relatable. Think about your audience:

  • What are their interests?
  • What do they want to achieve?
  • What problems do they have?

By answering these types of questions, you can use your answers to create a character that has familiar attributes.

3. How Will They Reflect My School?

For any character that is used in marketing campaigns or teaching materials, they have to also reflect your brand. When people see your characters, they need to instantly recognise where they're from. 

Think about some famous characters in advertising at the moment. Red and Yellow, the M&M characters, are mascots you instantly recognise. Why? Because they're M&Ms.

 

illustrated pupils

 

When creating characters for schools, colleges or universities, your characters have to reflect the image of your brand. By wearing a school uniform or simply a badge with your school crest or logo, your character shows people where they're from. You can also design characters to reflect your brand by personifying the values of your establishment.

4. How Will They Be Unique?

If you want your character to stand out from the crowd, they have to be unique.

There are many ways you can make them original. In the character design process, you can use original design styles, voices and/or personality features.

posters of superheroes

At Digital 22, we don't use templates - we create characters from scratch so each and every character is always unique. This means you'll never see your competitors having the same characters.

5. Where Will They Appear?

Characters aren't just restricted to paper. They can be used on banners, your website and in motion graphic videos. They can be used anywhere.

Deciding where they will appear can help you determine budgeting costs and also how they will be used. In videos, your characters are more active and visually telling a story, whereas if they're having a small appearance in your latest prospectus, they might only have some information about them and a video link for people to visit.

During the character design process with our clients, we help them decide where the best places are to showcase their characters; where will they have the best impact with their audience?

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