I was asked by a developer to create a set of characters for a translation product. While the app had an incredibly robust technology for helping people learn new languages, felt the product was a bit sterile and boring.
My task was to create a set of buddies that could eventually be used as on-boarding characters, and general help throughout the product as well as welcomers on the loading / intro screen. The trick for me was finding a way to show these characters are well traveled, happy, cultured fellows without hitting you over the head with it.
The product has started with the Chinese language, focusing closely on the intricacies of the language. Therefore, I wanted to make sure to take a more ambiguous route. Where while these characters don't have any particularly obvious nationality, they do look like they've been some places and enjoy a good adventure while remaining personal and youthful. All the elements of a cultured person.
Details & Process
The balance between heavy amounts of fun detail with the accessibility of scalability is crucial in my opinion. Knowing that these are going to show up in many different situations / locations across any number of backgrounds or devices, I want my work to hold up and be easily reused throughout the product. Below I think demonstrates nicely that these characters work at both large and small scales.