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Logo Mascots: Friend or Foe?

Mascot logos are among the most memorable and recognizable logo types out there. For many companies, mascots are essential to their brand identity. In fact, some mascots have become so synonymous with the organization they represent that they can no longer be separated.

Think about how instantly our minds make the connection between Tony the Tiger and Frosted Flakes. Or Ronald McDonald and McDonald’s. Or that talking gecko and Geico Insurance. Establishing this kind of powerful brand recognition is invaluable in the distracted world we live in today, where countless competitors are just a thumb scroll away.

What is a logo mascot?

Let’s begin with the basics. A mascot is generally defined as an illustrated character that represents an organization (you can think of them as miniature brand ambassadors). Mascots are either based on people, or anthropomorphic animals and objects. A logo mascot is exactly what it sounds like: a mascot that makes up part (or all) of a company’s logo.

“Mascot” comes from the French word, “mascotte”, which means lucky charm. The word entered the English language in the 19th century, and eventually became associated with people, animals or objects that were thought to bring good luck.

Over time, people began using mascots to represent groups with common public identities, such as professional sports teams, schools, or military organizations. Not long after, mascots made their way into the marketing world to represent brands.

Michellin-man-logo-mascot

The very first brand mascot in the United States was The Michelin Man, which was introduced in 1898. Other early mascots that have stood the test of time include The Morton Sea Salt girl (introduced in 1914), The Jolly Green Giant (introduced in 1925), and Borden Dairy Company’s “Elsie the Cow” (introduced in 1936). The rest is… well, history.

What is the purpose of a logo mascot?

The primary purpose of a mascot is to strengthen your brand identity and build brand recognition, both of which are essential ingredients in the success of any business. A good mascot will breathe life into your brand with human-like qualities that appeal to human emotions. Put it this way—if you notice that a logo is making eye contact and smiling at you, it’s pretty hard to ignore it.

By tapping into emotions, your mascot tells potential customers a lot about your brand, or what products or services you offer, without saying a word. Your mascot becomes your brand’s silent “spokesperson”, which in turn makes your business seem more personable and accessible.

Here are just a few of the many advantages of introducing a mascot to your brand:

  • Mascots are memorable. Pictures—especially faces—are more memorable to the human mind than words or abstract symbols. This is why a well-chosen mascot builds serious brand recognition for your business. When your mascot is easy to remember, it’s also easier for your target audience to remember your product and its features.
  • Mascots are multitaskers. Mascots don’t need to be confined to logos alone. You can animate them in advertisements, insert them in illustrations, add them to promotional games or apps, print them on stickers, and so on. Unlike other branding elements, your mascot is free to express itself in an endless variety of ways, while still being recognizable.
  • Mascots make it personal. There’s no better way to “humanize” your brand than having a character that communicates with your audience like an actual human. Mascots make different facial expressions and gestures—you can even give them their own voice if you want to! When your customers feel like your mascot is interacting with them, they’ll feel like they’re chatting with a friend. This experience creates a much stronger connection and a more positive association with your brand.

What are the different types of logos to use mascots in?

While well-established mascots are sometimes strong enough to stand on their own two feet and act as a logo by themselves, most appear in combination mark logos along with the company’s name. They might also make an occasional appearance in emblem logos.

Logo mascots for every emotion

Because of their inherent “humanness”, mascots can easily take on any character trait, mood, or style necessary to represent your organization and visually interact with your target audience. Here are just a few examples of some of the “moods” your mascot can personify.

Powerful

Aggressive mascots that flex their muscles and furrow their brows are designed to tap into people’s primal “warrior” instincts. You’ll find these fierce logo characters representing industries where competition is king. They intimidate their rivals, warning them that they’re a force to be reckoned with. These mascots are also popular with organizations that want to show, under no uncertain terms, that they’re prepared to fight to protect their customers’ best interests.

 

Industries where you’ll find powerful mascots: Security Firms, Sports Teams, Gaming Channels, YouTube Channels, Construction

Cute and cuddly

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find animal mascots that appear to have one message to share with the world: “we don’t bite”. Family-friendly and full of fun, these adorable anthropomorphic characters are designed to give everyone the warm fuzzies. Most of the time, they’re found in industries that are targeted at children and families—but let’s be honest, their cheerful dispositions and playful poses could charm the socks off just about anyone.

 

Industries where you’ll find cute and cuddly mascots: Childcare, Education, Restaurant, Food

Wise

Ever notice that the companies that are built on establishing customers’ utmost trust also tend to have the most boring branding? Sure, playing it safe might come across as serious and respectable, but it also makes these institutions somewhat interchangeable. Introducing a confident, sophisticated mascot can help these organizations stand out, while at the same time instilling confidence in their customers—on a personal level—that they know what they’re doing. Take the Geico Insurance gecko, for example. He seems wise beyond his tiny size, doesn’t he?

Industries where you’ll find wise mascots: Law, Insurance, Finance, Accounting, Consulting, Healthcare, Real Estate, Photography

Cool

It makes sense that mascots are particularly popular in technology, an industry where reality is virtual and intelligence is artificial. They inject a little personality and some much-needed “humanity” into a world that can seem utterly devoid of it at times. Tech companies often design cool, fun mascots to connect with their customers and bring their branding back down to earth.

Industries where you’ll find cool mascots: Technology, Internet, Food and Beverage

Quirky

While a quirky, abstract, or downright bizarre mascot carries the risk of confusing potential customers, the weirdness can also work in your favor by making your brand all the more memorable. If nothing else, it will pique people’s curiosity about your company in ways that more conventional mascots might not.

Industries where you’ll find quirky mascots: Music, Film, TV, Gaming

How to choose a mascot

Putting a literal “face” to your business is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when it comes to your brand identity. Although it might be fun to come up with the perfect character to represent your organization, by no means is it a decision that should be taken lightly.

Many companies build brand recognition with a mascot that has a connection to their product or service, or one that relates to their company name.

If you’re looking for mascot ideas and aren’t sure where to begin, think up a few adjectives that describe how you want your target audience to perceive your brand. Then, choose a mascot character that best fits those adjectives. Your mascot’s personality should reflect your brand’s personality.

Four things to consider before choosing a mascot:

  1. Know your audience. You want your mascot to connect with your customers on an emotional level. Leave your personal preferences out of the equation, and make sure your mascot fits your brand identity and company story first and foremost.
  2. Consider your platforms. Think carefully about the primary marketing channels you’ll be using to promote your business. Mascots look great on social media pages, on billboards and signage, and when they’re brought to life in videos. They won’t pack the same punch, however, if the majority of your marketing is through formal presentations or sales pitches.
  3. Think about scale. Mascots, by their very nature, have a lot of character, and all that extra detail can make scaling an issue. Make sure your mascot is recognizable at all sizes, especially on the small screen.
  4. Make a commitment. Your mascot is going to be the honorary spokesperson of your organization, so choose wisely. Once you’ve built brand recognition with a chosen character, you’re pretty much stuck with him or her!

How to design your logo mascot

If you’re ready to create a custom mascot for your brand, our logo maker has everything you need to get started—no design experience required!

Mascot logo design tips:

  • Make sure your mascot is copyrighted to avoid legal trouble down the line. Otherwise, you might be accused of copying someone else’s idea.
  • Take great care to ensure your mascot doesn’t come across as offensive or controversial to any group, or your business will be at the center of attention for all the wrong reasons.
  • Don’t limit your mascot to your logo alone. Use it as much as possible. Make sure it shows up in all of your social media posts and your marketing materials. You can even consider creating a social media account and use it to help develop your mascot’s story. Case in point: Chester, the Cheetah of Cheetos fame, has over 70 thousand followers on Twitter! The more places your mascot pops up, the more recognizable it will become.

A well-designed logo mascot reflects your brand’s unique personality in a way that reaches your audience on a personal level. Not only will having a mascot help you create an emotional connection that allows you to better communicate with your existing customers, but it will also help you entice new ones by helping you stand out from the crowd.

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