Questions You Should Ask Before You Design a Mascot

Mascots come in all shapes and sizes. Often, it is not only the character that dictates what the final mascot design will be. If you are considering the creation of a new mascot for your school or organization, then here are a few questions you should ask yourself while you’re in the design phase. There is always a balance between form and function, and that line is different for each mascot project.
Who Is Going to Wear the Mascot?
Like the majority of schools or companies, the mascot performer is typically a volunteer with little to no experience. Mascot costumes that are used in corporate environments such as trade shows, are often worn by someone on staff – willingly or not. Similarly in schools, there may be someone very eager in one school year, but another term might find students drawing straws to see who the lucky performer will be.
Your mascot performer is an important consideration because it will determine what features should be built into the mascot costume. For instance, an inexperienced performer will undoubtedly complain about vision, ventilation, limited movement or all three. Therefore these factors should be reflected in the mascot design. Will the eyes and mouth be smaller or larger? Will the facial features be plastic or vented? Will you include a fan inside the head? Typically, a more experienced mascot performer will have a higher tolerance for things like reduced vision.

You should also take into account how many different people will be wearing the costume. If you have more than one performer, it’s an absolute must that your mascot costume be designed in such a way that it can be cleaned and dried quickly and easily. No one wants to put on a hot, sweaty costume that was just worn by someone else. You may want to consider duplicates of the pieces which come into direct contact with the performer’s body – gloves, body suits, booties for shoes, etc.
How Long Will the Mascot Be In Use?
You may be designing a mascot that is intended to last five or ten years. Perhaps it’s just being designed for a promotion with a limited run, or even for a single day of shooting for a commercial, film or tv show. The lifespan of your mascot can help you determine which features are more or less important with your character design. For instance, if the mascot costume will only be used one or two times, different choices can be made with everything from the interior structure, fans, vision requirements and finishing fabrics. In such cases, the most important factor is that the character ‘reads’ well on camera. It will be used in a controlled environment, for a limited period of time and likely with a crew of people on hand. Conversely, a mascot costume designed for a school will be subject to a lot of wear and tear and needs to be designed and built to withstand years of use and varying degrees of care and attention.
What Will the Mascot Be Used For?
Will your mascot be used primarily for meet-and-greet events with public? Will it have to hand out literature or prizes? Will it need to do lots of running and jumping around during a game? All of these different situations have a bearing on how the mascot costume will be designed and constructed. If your mascot character is going to primarily be on a parade float a few times a year, then mobility and vision are not typically high on the priority list. On the other hand, a team mascot at a game needs to see everything that is going on and be able to move around effectively so you’ll want to consider how the body is designed for maximum mobility, how securely the head stays on, what the range of vision is and how flexible the feet are, etc. As you can see, there is a different set of criteria for each situation.

Is This the Best Mascot Character to Represent You?
Are you considering a dog mascot for your moving company, just because you like dogs? Or maybe you once saw a really cool Spartan mascot and you’d also like one for your school. Being inspired by other mascot characters is fine, but it’s important that what you choose is an effective representation of your brand. If making a choice is not so obvious, then think about the following things that might be clues to picking your mascot character:

  1. What’s in a name – does the name of your organization suggest a mascot character? (Think Quaker or Mr. Clean)
  2. What are your core values, vision and mission? Think about characters that might represent the fundamental ideals of your organization – strength (lion), fun (monkey), education (owl), etc.
  3. Your location – are you situated in a particular area that is famous for a landmark, or type of tree or wildlife? Think about iconic elements of your surroundings that draw visitors or represent your area in a unique way.

With a combination of discussion, proper planning, and answering these questions, you are sure to create a mascot that will effectively represent your team or brand. Need help with your mascot design, or don’t know where to start? Contact Hogtown Mascots today for all your custom mascot requirements!