A blog by Erica Virtue.
Say hello to “Morris” – our new Vitogo mascot (version 1.0)!
I was trying to come up with a new 404 page for Vitogo, and ended up drawing a startup mascot in the process. He’s a “gym monkey” – get it? It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while, but it wasn’t really that high on our list of priorities. But, I’ve been working on getting better at using Photoshop, so it seemed like it would be a good project for the day.
Here’s what he’ll look like on the 404 page. He’s really upset that you couldn’t find the page you were looking for:
Anyway, it got me thinking about other startups that have adopted mascots and why it might not be such a bad idea. Below is a great interview with Alexis Ohanian – founder of Reddit, Breadpig and Hipmunk – about designing an effective logo for your startup:
Alexis has designed some pretty iconic logos and has great advice for startups who want to incorporate a mascot into their branding. First, it’s important to have a great product. A cute mascot won’t save a bad product and it might even backfire on you if you aren’t careful (à la pets.com puppet or Microsoft paper clip). If done right, however, a mascot can endear and inspire your fans in ways a plain logo can’t. In the words of Alexis, “You can’t really feel a connection with just a font.” A mascot can remind your users that there are real humans behind your startup and give them another way to remember your company.
I find that I actually feel more enthusiastic about companies that have cute mascots (and I’m way more likely to put their sticker on my laptop). It’s a fun way to market your company and engage with fans.
Here are a few of my favorite startup mascots. Let me know if you know of any more!
The octocat is by far my favorite startup mascot. I was hoping that there was a better story behind it, but apparently, GitHub cofounder Tom Preston-Werner was looking for a fun image for GitHub’s 404 page, found the Octocat on iStockPhoto, and purchased a limited-use license for around $50.
If you’re looking for a full list of startup mascots, there is a good list on Quora.