A successful icon can be a synthesizer of a brand that is readily used by customers for identification, differentiation and positive associations. A stylised character with the embedded characteristics and nuances of the brand easily conveys the personality of the brand, making it easier for the audience to relate and build a relationship with the brand. A bad icon can completely destroy the credibility and reputation of a brand.
MISSING THE MARK
‘Boodle’ designed a character icon that aims to embody the brand’s playful and helpful nature. Although the icon pops up on ads to talk you through instructions, it is poorly animated and possesses no differentiated characteristics. ‘Boo’, the helper avatar, looks, sounds and feels generic, joining the abundant world of smiley face branding.
HITTING THE MARK
Oslo City Bikes’ logo icon doubles as a brand character and very successfully communicates the brand’s friendly and quirky personality. Launched in 2003, Oslo Citi Bikes’ quirky character is as endearing as it is memorable and relevant, especially in our current emoticon culture.
The simple abstraction of a bike and face perfectly resembles the user friendly nature of the product and various brand touchpoints. A simple character that acts both static on the bikes but also dynamically in the app or on the racks. Oslo’s character guides you through the service, with a bit of a personality.
A brand icon or character need to firmly relate to the brand and deliver its values. A well designed character can help a brand stand out from the clutter while a poorly executed character will attract attention for all the wrong reasons.