Creating Characters that Bring Your Brand To Life

Synapse. Three o´clock . . . A.M. A single light illuminates a corner desk in the inked-out office…

Small and dark, a masked silhouette creeps over a computer screen. Two eyes appear through a sleek, ivory black mask . . . blink . . . blink. From ear to ear, a curious riddle grin emerges. Reaching behind, the dark figure lifts an enormous brown bag into view. It slowly reaches into the monstrous brown blob, stretching shoulder deep. Under the single light, the small, dark, blinking, stretching, riddle grinning, masked figure, lifts out a mystifying, perplexing, baffling…blank price tag?!

What is going on at Synapse?! . . . No need to worry: it’s our illustrators working on our next set of brand building characters we’re creating for a major brand launch.  Synapse Marketing Solutions is very familiar with the imaginative force characters can bring to any stage. Characters star in major animated films (Disney, anyone?), compliment advertisements through character branding (12% of all prime time TV commercials contain at least one illustrated character) and polish or commemorate logo designs. Characters can enhance any personal experience with proper research and execution. So . . . how does a brand create a supportive, visually appealing, personality driven, well-drawn character that creates a great impression and sells product?

Plan First
Creating a stellar character always begins with a well-planned concept. All conceptual work starts with detailed research. Who is the brand’s target audience? What products and brand lines will the character support? What brand characteristics should the character embody?  These questions are very important to ask since the basis of the character’s personality and look will derive from these details. Only after extensive research and discussion does a character’s concept start to take shape.

Bring You Character to Life
Live the brand’s concept through the audience’s eyes. Be the character. Imagine yourself as the character. Chuck Jones, famous for helping Warner Bros. bring their classic animated characters to life (think: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig), says it best, “I have to think as Bugs Bunny, not of Bugs Bunny.” Developing a character not only requires ample planning, but also involves imagining who the character is. What does the character like to do? What does he eat? Where does he live? What kind of shoes would the character wear? If the character were to eat an ice cream cone, what flavor ice cream would the character choose? Dream, imagine and live the life of the character.

From Concept to Reality
Bringing the character to life, multiple rough drawings are illustrated, flexing different possibilities of the original concept. Take Synapse’s recent creation, the “DealBurglar” character, for example.  During this character branding experience, many different variations were drawn. From big and small, to round and skinny the “DealBurglar” character was drawn multiple times, formulating an original look for each.

Conceptual Art for’s The DealBurglar

In some scenarios, the character may keep a more uniform look in the rough conceptual stage. Sometimes the client is very clear in what they are looking for in their character. Sticking to one uniform look, while making subtle changes throughout, better enables the client’s concept to take shape.

Conceptual Art for Penn Waste’s mascot, Penny

Clean Up Your Act
Once roughs are finished and approved by the project’s stakeholders, the rough character is finalized in the medium predetermined (digital or traditional). Following standards set by past illustrators, the design, personality (expression) and figure’s anatomy is polished, critiqued and polished again. This repeated process ensures the caliber of the completed character is of the highest par, satisfying the client and future generations to come.

Conceptual & Final Art for’s The DealBurglar

Conceptual & Final Art for Penn Waste’s mascot, Penny

Polishing It Off
Devising solutions, pushing boundaries and good ol´fashion drawing, Synapse’s character creations complete our client’s vision. Through strategic planning and research, Synapse discovers the client’s vision and creates the concept, executing a polished character. Characters bring life, personality and emphasis to any application. Napoleon Bonaparte says it best, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Synapse redefines, “A character is worth thousands of words!”

Conceptual & Final Art for’s Fat Cat villain

Conceptual & Final Art for’s Evil Genius villain

Conceptual & Final Art for’s The Shyster villain

Final Art for’s The Deal Squad

Want to see how Synapse can create personalities for your company?  Start a Conversation with us.

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