Mascot design for brands is getting more and more popular, especially for those focused on promoting their brand online.
But how much would mascot design cost you? How to choose the right designer for the project? These are the questions we are going to discuss here.
But let’s first clarify what exactly is a mascot.
What is a mascot?
Traditionally, mascots are associated with sports teams. But nowadays they are transforming into something different. Mascots, also called brand characters or spokescharacters, have become marketing tools for attracting attention online and differentiating you from the competition.
Online you can find two different services: mascot design and mascot logo design.
What’s the difference?
A mascot is a person, animal or object, used as a spokesperson of an organization or a product. Mascots are created in different poses and situations, wearing different outfits and accessories. They are often animated for video clips as well.
A mascot logo is a type of logo that includes the brand’s mascot in some form. Often the character in the logo is simplified.
Let’s see an example.
The Aflac Duck has been a mascot of Aflac since 2000. Aflac Duck is a 3D rendered realistically looking duck character, while their logo includes a simplified 2D version of the mascot.
However, it’s not necessary to have the character in your logo. Here is an example of another brand.
Now you know the difference between a mascot and a mascot logo, let’s see how much do they cost.
Mascot Logo Cost
The mascot logo is a type of logo, so it’s in the price range of logos. In general, the prices of logo design range from $5 to $100k+. You could create it yourself using a logo maker, you can hire a freelancer or a branding agency.
Here, we are not going to discuss cheap logo makers, nor high-end branding agencies. We are going to focus on the most popular solution – to find a freelancer to design the logo for you.
For the services of a freelancer, you can expect to pay from $100 to $15k+, depending on the experience of the designer. The price would also depend on other factors, such as your specific requirements, the complexity of the design, the amount of research & strategy that’s required, and many others. However, if you expect to get a good logo, then your bottom line should not be lower than $300.
Mascot logos are a more complex type of logo, it also requires illustration skills. So the price would be higher.
Here is a great article explaining the difference between the $100 logos, $1.000 logos and $10.000 logos.
Mascot Design Cost
The process of creating a character that is going to be used as a mascot is a completely different process than logo design.
The mascot design starts with creating the concept of the character, dressing him or her, creating different poses, outfits, and accessories.
The price for a mascot varies just like the logo design. But, the information you can find online about mascot design is quite sparse and sometimes misleading.
That’s why I’m going to tell you the main factors that define the mascot design pricing and what to look for when you choose a designer.
Factors Determining the price and guidelines to choose a designer
When choosing a designer for a mascot the obvious thing to do is to look at the designer’s portfolio. But there are some other factors you should take into account as well.
1. Understanding your business needs
Creating a brand mascot for a business is very different than creating a character for a game for instance.
Just like your logo, the mascot will represent your business. Here is a typical client request of how their mascot should look like:
- friendly, but authoritative;
- to represent power and reliability, but also be playful;
- to look happy, but not too much, because you have serious business and the character should represent that as well.
So in the end we have to work with an array of contradicting features, incorporate them in the character, and make him or her visually appealing, recognizable and memorable.
A substantial part of the creative process is conversations and drawing many sketches until we find the creature you will be proud to represent your brand.
This is why it is very important to choose a designer who understands your needs as a business and what the mascot is going to represent.
There is a second reason why you should choose a designer with experience in creating mascots for businesses. An experienced mascot designer would also be able to help you choose the poses and additional elements you will need.
2. Additional Poses/Outfits/accessories
There’s no point in paying for the design of 20 poses and end up using only 5 of them.
My experience shows that people find it hard to imagine exactly what they can do with their mascot, even when they have a clear idea of what character they want. In most cases, they are not sure what poses they will need for content creation.
In these cases, my strategy is to separate the project into two parts: creating the initial design (creating the concept of the character and designing the initial pose), and once we have the character finished we move to the additional poses. Why does this help?
First of all, it’s easier to imagine what you can do with your character once you see it finished.
The second reason is that while we are working on the initial design, we discuss where they would like to use the mascot. Based on that information and some research of their competition, I create a visual strategy for the mascot with suggestions for additional poses and elements.
This approach saves us a lot of time and helps the client better control their budget for the project.
So I highly recommend creating a visual strategy for your mascot beforehand. Also, look for a designer who will be able to help you with the strategy because he or she might have some suggestions on creative ways to use your mascot. Also, some poses and elements are easier to create than others, so your designer can help you get the most of your mascot based on the budget you have.
Good mascots need time to be created.
Here’s an example.
I’ve recently created Falkor, the mascot of Blogging Wizard. Creating the concept and the initial design of the character took 20 hours and the creation of the additional poses, outfits, and accessories took 25 hours.
Curious to see behind the scene of the mascot design process? Check out how Falkor, the Blogging Wizard’s mascot, was created!
Why does mascot design take so long?
As I mentioned above, the most time-consuming part of the process is creating the character’s concept. We work on every small detail – facial features, body, outfit, and accessories.
Here is a character I have created for a travel insurance company. They wanted a Saint Bernard rescue dog wearing a vest and a barrel typical for rescue dogs. Sounds very specific, right? Well, it turned out that there are many things to be tested.
First, we had to find the right face for the dog. Saint Bernard dog evokes a specific image in your mind, right? However, as I found out, their faces can look quite different, especially when you create a cartoon character.
The next step was to choose the type of rescue vest.
As you see, even the most specific design request may require the drawing of 10 different sketches.
Then we start creating the digital version, choosing the colors and creating shadows and textures.
And here is the character finished.
Now you know the main factors to choose a designer. But there is one more thing to consider.
Actually, there are several types of character design.
2D Character Design
2D characters are flat 2-dimensional images. They are created with a graphics software like Photoshop or Illustrator. These characters can have shadows and textures that make them look like they are 3-dimensional, but they cannot be rotated. This means that when you need another pose, another drawing of the character should be created.
Here are some famous examples of 2D mascots:
2D characters could be either bitmap (raster) characters or vector characters.
Raster images consist of a grid of pixels (squares). Every pixel encodes specific color. A bitmap character is just like a drawing on paper. The most popular file formats used for these images are JPG, JPEG, and PNG.
Vector images, on the other hand, are not pixel-based. The most used file formats are AI and SVG. Instead of pixels, vector graphics are based on mathematically defined simple geometric shapes and so they can be scaled up as much as you want. Also, the shapes they are built from can be moved and manipulated, which means that you can select and move or change objects from the image. These two advantages make vector graphics especially suitable for mascots.
These are the main advantages of vector characters:
- Infinitely scalable: Once created, the vector character can be used for both small images for your website or large prints such as billboards, car wrap, and others.
- Easy to edit: Parts of the character can be easily edited later, such as change the color of the character’s shirt, or add an accessory.
- Easier to create new poses: Vector design is like building with LEGO, so the different parts of the body can be moved and manipulated. This way you can create different poses faster and easier than redrawing entire raster images. You can even use your vector character as a puppet for animated videos.
Important note: Not every vector character is built to be manipulated. This requires additional skills and efforts. At Visual Content Space, we are prioritizing this aspect and experiment with various methods to make our characters more flexible and easy to manipulate. So you should talk with your designer beforehand if this is possible.
The rates of 2D character design freelancers range from $25 to $100+ per hour.
3D Character Design
3D characters are 3-dimensional models that can be rotated and animated. A 3D character can be realistically looking, like Gecko and Aleksandr Orlov, or cartoonishly looking like the M&M’s characters.
3D characters are mainly used by companies that need to animate their character for videos like TV commercials.
The hourly rate of 3D artists is $30-$100/hr. 3D character creation may need double the time of 2D character design, or even more. It depends on many aspects such as how complex the character is, what the texture of the character is (is it a flat surface like the M&M’s characters, or haired like Alexandr Orlov). Creating the initial character, without adding new poses or creating animations could range from $1000 to $5000+.
Some companies, like Mr. Clean, use both a 2D and 3D version of their character.
Using mascots for branding is getting more and more popular, especially online. But finding the right designer for your mascot could be quite difficult. When choosing a designer for a mascot the obvious thing to do is to look at the designer’s portfolio. But there are some other factors you should take into account as well.
Here are the things to have in mind when you choose your mascot designer:
- Choose a designer that creates characters specifically for brands. They understand your needs as a business and what the mascot should represent.
- A well planed visual strategy beforehand can save you a lot of time and money. Ask the designer if they can help you choose the right poses and additional elements that will be most useful for you.
- The main factor that determines the price of mascot design is the time spent creating the character. A well-crafted mascot requires time, research, and many trials. Ask the designer how much time would it take and what’s involved in the process so that you can get an idea of how much attention you will get for your mascot.
Mascots are probably the most entertaining marketing tool. However, in order to be successful, you should choose the right mascot, develop the character and make it part of your branding and marketing strategies. Before you jump into the design process download our guide on how to create a mascot.
This guide will help you create the concept of your character and plan your visual strategy!