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5 Reasons to Have a Mascot for Your (Or Your Client’s) Brand

5 Reasons to Have a Mascot for Your (or a Client's) Brand

We all have memories of our favourite mascots from Tony the Tiger to Michelin Man (116 years old by the way!) and more recently Aleksandr from Compare the Market.

Characters are used in all industries including food, household products, technology, insurance and entertainment. But why choose a character to represent your brand? Here are five reasons you might want to consider developing one for yours.

1. They Add Life to a Seemingly Boring Product

It’s the rare human that’s looks forward to buying insurance. Despite that, a brand like Compare the Market makes the process entertaining with their mascot Aleksandr the meerkat and the rest of the meerkat gang. People collect the soft toys, incentivising them to take all of their insurance out through this comparison giant. Aleksandr even published an autobiography!? They made insurance fun. Think you have a boring product? It might not be as dull as you think!

2. They Don’t Get Into Scandals

How often do you hear of a brand distancing themselves from a celebrity ambassador after a tabloid scandal? Tiger Woods and Nike, Sharon Stone and Dior and even A list celebs like Kerry Katona and Iceland. Celebrities, despite what some people say are human, and humans make mistakes. These mistakes can cost companies hundreds of thousands if not millions in brand damage.

Mascots on the other hand are loyal servants, they’d never use an iPhone if they were sponsored by Motorola (cough…Beckham) or shave their head when endorsing Brylcreem (Beckham!… Cough cough).? They do exactly what you want them to do. There have been controversial mascots in the past, but these are few and far between and no one’s blaming the mascots!

3. They Can Last for Generations

The classic example is Mickey Mouse. It’s difficult to separate the image of the lovable rodent from one of the largest companies on the planet. He’s known by almost everyone in the world and loved by generations. My wife has his silhouette tattooed on the back of her neck, but let’s not get into that!The point is, a lovable character mascot can add value to a brand for years, decades or even centuries. I’m looking at you Quaker Man!

4. They’re Memorable!

A good mascot is iconic and we’re really good at recognising icons. Even in the tech world a brand like Mailchimp is much more memorable (at least to me) than its competitors, who I can’t even recall right now. Another good tech example is Hostgator who have that blue alligator mascot. Again, these aren’t sexy products, but they embed themselves into our minds by the effective use of characters.

5. They Can Speak to Your Target Audience

Remember in the early nineties when the games console war was between Nintendo and Sega? Nintendo had their wholesome Italian plumber Mario who appealed to families. Then came along Sonic, the edgy blue hedgehog with bags of attitude. He appealed to more hardcore gamers and angsty teens. He was the rebel. He spoke to them in a way they wanted to be spoken to. They had an icon that represented them (Sonic was the reason I really got into illustration as a kid). Your mascot can talk to different demographics in a style that resonates with and stands for them.

Need a Mascot for Your Brand or Have a Client that Would Benefit from One?

A mascot, done right can really add a lot of value to a brand. Want to discuss developing one for your business or for a client? Send me a message or email and we can arrange a call!

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Character Illustration: Bark Social

Bark Social Character Illustration by Rob Lee

Bark Social is a company that focuses on getting clients a return on investment on their influencer marketing activity. They already had some illustrations on their homepage but wanted something with a little more character. I recreated the existing illustrations with a fresh new look that they’re over the moon with. Visit to see the live illustrations.

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Logo Design: Burning Gas Haulin’ Ass

Burning Gas Haulin' Ass Logo Design

Burning Gas Haulin? Ass is a new Youtube channel that focuses on the owner?s love for Harley Davidson and all things motorcycles. I was approached by the owner Gareth to design a logo to be used on the channel and across social media.

After batting a couple of ideas back and forth we came up with the idea of creating a circular logo that featured the handlebars of a motorcycle taking centre stage. Gareth gave me some photos of his custom motorcycle that I intended to work into the design.

Gareth’s custom motorcycle. Tasty.

One of the additional requirements was to somehow include a snapback cap in the logo as this was something he wears a lot and would feature heavily in his videos.

With that in mind I went to work! I started by roughly sketching out a simplified version of the bike, trying to encapsulate it into a circular composition. Initially I thought it might be interesting to transform the bike into a character by turning the headlight into an eye and giving it some attitude.

Initial rough sketches.

One of the other ideas was a Harley Davidson inspired logo as the channel is partly for Harley Davidson enthusiasts, but we decided to move towards the original idea.

After a couple of refined sketches I added the banners at the top and bottom to make it feel in-keeping with the biker community and to also create the circular formation we were trying to achieve.

Refined sketches.

In the final sketch we changed the view from the bike looking towards the viewer to more of a first person view where the viewer is riding the bike. In the wing mirrors I added a skull that features on Gareth?s custom bike and this is where I incorporated the snapback. We like the idea that it?s not obvious on first look, but it?s more of an Easter egg that you find on closer inspection. I also added flames to the background that mirrored the flames on his bike and tied everything together.

Burning Gas Haulin' Ass logo final sketch
The final sketch

The next stage was the digital production so I took the final sketch into Adobe Illustrator where I crafted the final design. I started in black and white to get the contrast right and offered up a couple of colour options. In the end Gareth took all three as he liked them so much. The orange flame version remains the main logo.

Final logo
Final logo black and white
Final logo colour variation

I had a great time designing this logo and working with Gareth. I?m looking forward to seeing his channel grow.

Visit the Burning Gas Haulin? Ass Youtube channel. You can follow them on Instagram @burning_gas_haulin_ass

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Chibi Pirate Character Design

Chibi Pirate Character Design

I designed this chibi pirate for the fun of it. I’ve been a long time fan of the chibi style of character. What I like about the chibi style is that you really have to think about what to include in your design due to the smaller body size.

Some of the designs I come across online are mind-blowing. They’re both intricate and beautifully simple at the same time. They’re a lot more difficult to design than they look!

I’m going to produce a small series of chibi characters just to explore this niche and see what I can learn that can be applied to other character styles.

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Can Anyone Be Creative?

I fundamentally believe that anyone can be creative. Working in the creative industry for the past decade, it’s easy for me to say, right? But ideas don’t just happen, at least they didn’t for me when I was starting out.

There are methods, processes and tools that can be learned, practiced and utilised for coming up with new ideas. It may be a little tough for someone brand new to coming up with ideas, but with a bit of work, anyone can be creative.

I’m starting a brand new creative project and I’m documenting the process from day one, hence my first vlog above. I’m doing this as a journal for myself and to demonstrate methods to come up with creative solutions to interesting and difficult problems for anyone interested in learning.

In the next video and blog I’ll be talking about the project in a bit more detail, so be sure to look out for that.

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Steal from Your Heroes

We’ve all had our heroes since childhood, from family members to film stars, musicians to sports stars and beyond. These people inspired us to dream about what our futures could hold. As we grow, our heroes change. We may not even call them heroes anymore, but there are people we admire for their abilities and character traits we’d like to see in ourselves. As Oscar Wilde once said “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. What better way to repay our heroes than by stealing from them!

Imitating Our Heroes

When learning a new discipline, a good place to start is by looking at what people before us have done. When learning guitar for example, it’s a good idea to learn songs by our favourite musicians. At first, we might sound like a clone of a certain guitarist, but as we broaden our influences, we’ll start to pick up different techniques and styles that we blend together to develop a unique voice.

The same applies to any craft. If you like business, start by modelling existing business strategies or business people. Start simple. Slowly implement ideas you like from other businesses to see if they work or not. Over time your specific mix of influences will make your business unique.

Everyone Does It!

If you look at the early works of various masters from any discipline, it’ll probably look a lot different from the signature style you’re familiar with. If you research enough, you’ll see how their heroes influenced the work and how over time how their own style evolved as they took on new influences or dropped certain techniques or strategies.

Become Your Own Hero

It’s tempting to put a single hero on a pedestal and simply try to become them. I did this as a kid (I wanted to be Bruce Lee). But this is impossible, there is only one of them, but more importantly there is only one of you.

Sure, implement traits and techniques from your heroes that are helpful to your development, but get your inspiration from a wide source of influences. Strive to create your own flavour and become the hero of your own story.

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Creating Connections

There are no original ideas. This statement gets thrown around a lot, especially in creative fields like writing and business. It may even be true to a certain extent. Most products, stories, businesses and designs are built on established foundations and templates. So how can people keep producing ideas that you wish you’d thought of (or worse, that you actually did think of but didn’t act on!)?

Connecting Existing Ideas

It may be impossible to come up with a completely original idea, but what if we connected two or three existing ideas together?

Story, images, sound and computer programming were combined together to create video games. Calling a taxi wasn’t an original idea, but if you connect taxi drivers to the Internet to smart phones, you get Uber. Look around you and see what you use day to day that combine ideas that existed before.

Creativity is about making connections. Connections between principles, ideas and knowledge.

One of the most valuable creative ideas I had at the company I work for came from a basic knowledge of code and an understanding of image formats. We give customers the ability to create personalised characters that we print on a wide array of products. Being able to manipulate an image with code meant we could scale the personalisation options we offered to our customers by many multiples of what we could before. We were also able to design and build a full web to print solution, which reduced production time and errors. This came from simply connecting two ideas.

Become an Ideas Sponge

To be able to make these connections, it helps to constantly absorb ideas and knowledge from all walks of life in order to build a mental library (and even a physical/digital library of notes). This means being open to learning new ideas, hobbies, disciplines and cultures. Develop a thirst for learning.

Building this mental library alone won’t make connections happen. It’s when you need a solution that may not exist yet that this pool of ideas comes in handy. It’s when you consciously try to make connections between ideas, knowledge and principles that they start to appear. A tool like mind mapping comes in handy here.

An Easy Creativity Tip

Once we’ve really exhausted our conscious efforts to make new connections and come up with new ideas, it’s a good idea to take a break, let go of the problem and sleep on it, even for a couple of days. If you’ve ever experienced a sudden spark of inspiration or a light bulb moment while in the shower or washing the dishes, it’s because the subconscious part of your mind continues to work on the problem after you’ve consciously let it go. Try this the next time you’re trying to solve a difficult problem.

Go create some connections.

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Imposing Limits

When we think about the word “limit”, it usually comes with a negative connotation. It means there’s a cap to what’s possible.

Sometimes however, imposing a limit can be really helpful when we’re trying to find a creative solution to a problem. It forces us to think differently and use the resources available to us. Often, when we’re faced with a blank canvas where the possibilities are limitless, we become paralysed.

Creative Limits

So what limitations should we impose on our work?


The most common limitation is time. We’ve all experienced this from being young at school. You had to get to school on time, the homework had to be in the next day and the school play had to be ready by a certain date. This prepared us for work, where the client or boss needs something completing by a certain time.

When faced with a deadline, people get things done. When it’s not optional we usually find a solution one way or another.

Set Yourself a Deadline

If the problem you’re trying to solve currently doesn’t have a time restriction, set yourself a date and time when it needs to be completed by. Create a schedule by working backwards from this date and set micro deadlines for each task. Make these deadlines non-negotiable. If you’re serious about these deadlines, you’ll find a way to meet them.

Physical Resources

When we limit the resources available to us, it forces us to become resourceful with what we do have. It makes us think in ways that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

One of the most common resources (other than time) is money. This may already be a limitation for a lot of us, but try to limit it even further if possible. You may need to borrow tools from friends and family or use your local library for books. Do you currently have anything that could be repurposed to make something new?


Limiting the space that we have can make us think creatively about how we use it. A good example is a room in a house. This naturally has spacial limitations. If you want the room to fit a certain purpose, maybe even multiple purposes, you have to think about the objects you place in the room. How big are they, can they serve more than one purpose, what’s the most efficient way the objects can be arranged in the space, how will they be used and does the arrangement make the room easy to navigate?

The same can be true when creating something on a two dimensional surface, like a sheet of paper. By setting limits on the page size we need to think about the best way to solve the creative problem inside the space that we do have. This may mean cutting non-critical items that you may have otherwise added. It may also mean that you need to change the concept altogether.


Sometimes we don’t have the best tools for the job. How else could we cut the wood in half or draw a perfect circle?

Limiting the tools could lead to a more effective solution. For example, if designing a piece of artwork or an advert, limiting yourself to one or two colours or using only one brush could be a refreshing change.

This can also apply to disciplines like writing. Limiting your word count will make you think about what you really need to include and edit out.

Give It a Try

The next time you’re trying to solve a creative problem, try imposing some limits on the project. You might just find a solution you weren’t looking for.

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Learning from Survival Horror

I played a lot of video games as a kid. I don’t play many at all these days, but one of my favourite game series was Resident Evil. If you’re not familiar, it’s a survival horror game where you solve puzzles to try and escape the city whilst fighting off zombies and other scary creatures.

I recently started playing the remake of Resident Evil 2. Let’s just say technology has come a long way since the original and it’s far creepier. I find myself procrastinating and having to psych myself up to enter a new area because I just didn’t know what might jump out of a dark corner.

I noticed that the same is true in life. We stall when we’re scared, often waiting too long before entering unknown territory. Like in the game, the thing itself doesn’t turn out to be that bad. It’s the anticipation, your mind creating all kinds of worst case scenarios that will probably never happen. It’s trying to stay safe and survive.

But by walking down the dark corridor despite the fear of the unknown, you’ll realise that most of the fear was unfounded. You’ll probably even feel a sense of pride and satisfaction because you stepped towards the fear, conquered the darkness and made progress towards your goals.

This is a blog about creativity, so how does all of this relate? It’s the fear of creating something bad that often stops you from starting at all. If we go a little deeper, it’s probably the fear of what people might think if they see this work.

This is understandable, but there comes a point where we need to accept the fear and do it anyway if you want to make significant progress towards your goals.