Have you ever wondered how some cartoon characters became so famous – with hundreds or thousands of merchandise bearing their names and images? Remove the ones with animated series out of the equation since they have a marketing medium – and you still have a handful of characters out there who became famous through the merit of their designs. Examples are Julius the Monkey and Emily the Stange.
This article discusses some tips for creating and selling cartoon characters.
Cute VS Cool
Are your characters cute or cool? Cute characters easily attract the females and the young children markets – two of the largest consumer markets. Character merchandise is often cheaper and more affordable. Therefore profit through sheer volumes of sales can be quite astounding.
Cool characters are more suitable as collectibles, and often cater more to the male market. As they are often more exclusive and expensive, sales volumes are seldom as impressive as cute character merchandise.
In the spirit of games development, decision makers might simply want to pick a design that is most suited for the game concept. But as far as possible, if the game concept so allows, do try to go for cute characters because they stand a higher chance of getting licensed for merchandising.
A character bible is the foundation for every product that would stem from an intellectual property – be it a game, animated series, comic, story book etc. Regardless of the resulting product, everything should refer back to the character bible. This is what the bible is all about – a kind of blueprint for an intellectual property besides being a showcase for the intellectual property.
A style guide to showcase your characters in their full glory is absolutely necessary if you plan to license your characters. The average licensee is often quite unimaginative and seldom sees beyond what you show them. So if you are showing them screen captures of your game, hoping that they would see the full potential of your character designs, chances are they will not. A style guide with multiple poses and designs of each character would help them understand and appreciate your character designs better.
Product Concept Boards
In your style guide, it would be good to include product concept boards. These are renderings of mock products with your character designs integrated within. Product concept boards are great for letting potential licensees see how they can use your character designs on their products.