Mascots and Memes in UI/UX: Elements of Personalized Design
written By Tijana Kostic
Here is a question for you.
When a visitor comes to your website or app, what impression do you want to leave on them? Care to look professional? Serious? Friendly?
Or casual? Caring? Gentle?
You have probably come up with a couple of answers, and these probably are all epithets for your quality, products, and services. But the real question is whether a website or app transmits these messages to the User. And what it actually delivers to everyone who visits it.
The point of any UI / UX design is to communicate with the User. To convey to them exactly what you want to offer in a way that is best for both parties. Well, one of the things that bring your offer closer to the Users is the personalization of the content. So what does it mean?
Each UI / UX design can be a channel for successfully conveying messages from the client to the site or owner and vice versa. Personalized design elements are those that fill the content with what is personally relevant to the individual User. In other words, those elements become closer to the User so that they can resonate with their thoughts, feelings, and desires. That's basically it.
The trick is how to use those elements in design! Well, personalized content can be various: the very concept of design, colors, illustrations, images, and the like. They can be located anywhere, in any form of marketing, for the needs of education, entertainment, etc. Their use is widespread. Because of that, today we will focus on those personalized elements that are essential in UI / UX design and are very popular today.
Before we deal with them, you must know this as well. Elements of personalized design are a two-way street. That means they don't only resonate with the Users. They resonate with the company itself, with the brand, and the team that is on the other side of the communication channel.
Mascots and Branded Memes especially reflect the ideas, energy, and specifics of the brand itself. And will talk more about it. So read on to find out how to use Mascots and Memes to enhance communication, represent your brand, and maybe add a bit of humor to your UI design! Enough with a serious conversation. Let’s get down to super fun stuff!
Mascots in design
What exactly are mascots anyway?
Some would say they are just pretty little faces popping here and there. Or that mascots are for entertainment and that they are an interesting touch to some events, marketing, and the like. That is only a partial truth. Mascots are characters who have their own specific look, personality, and often human-like features. They can be presented as thumbnails, icons, 3D figures but also costumes. That is why sports mascots are well-known.
So, these may be some animals, fictional creatures, but they almost always have something human. Why? Because they communicate with humans, us. Sports mascots participate in cheering at matches, interest the audience, transfer energy, represent the team, and the like. Likewise, mascots in any other form, in UI / UX design, have much more significant roles than an interesting image.
The mascot is, it can be said, the personification of the entire brand and team. It absorbs the nature, energy, and idea of the brand, the company's works ethics and values, and the characteristics of the people who work there. Then, the mascot reflects it all! Therefore, when people see the mascot of a brand, they instantly get an impression of the whole brand through its features. What a mascot looks like, how it behaves, and what it says (if it says anything), so does a brand. Simply said.
So it means that behind the brand and the company, there is a whole team of hard workers. And in front of the brand and the company, there is a single unique mascot. So be careful how you use them!
Mascot as a representative of the brand
The mascot should be an active member of your team.
That means it can communicate with the User like anyone from the company. Therefore, it should first be original and really represent the brand with all its features and behavior. For example, our mascot Hiro is an easy-going and effective Ninja - thus representing the character of the Broworks. It is, therefore, a trademark everywhere on our site and shows our visitors firsthand what we are like when we work. Then, we send him on missions as our representative. That's because we want to tell people that we are as efficient, sharp, resourceful as Ninjas! In addition, we are casual and fun-loving as seen from Hiro's cute face.
We believe that when clients see Hiro, they know how we will communicate and get a first impression of the many characteristics of our company and team. So, the mascot is a serious matter (although some of them can look super goofy).The mascot of the brand must be a realistic representation of what the brand is. Otherwise, it won't help. Inappropriate mascots only confuse users who cannot connect them with anything related to the brand.
By no means make mascots that don’t bind well to your brand, just because they look great or you think would be interesting. Yes, an interesting mascot will attract people, but when users find out that it doesn't have much to do with what you do, they won't appreciate you using it as bait. The best mascot is created when you realize that each team member is a bit of a mascot!
Mascot as an information vessel
As mascots are quite versatile, they can appear in the form of icons, pictures, figures, etc. That means that where there is no place to present, you can just put a mascot icon, and it already gives a lot of information about you. Almost all brands that have a mascot keep it on their social media profile pictures.
The mascot is often used as a logo because it is a recognizable thing about the company. They are often used as badges, posters, on T-shirts, and as patterns. And all because you packed everything you want to tell your customers at a glance into one mascot figure. And as such a vessel of info, a mascot is ready to appear anywhere on your behalf. Even convey a relevant message without a single word. How convenient is that?
In UI / UX design, mascot icons can serve as CTA elements that will best attract Users' attention. On a website, you can use them anywhere you want to communicate with a visitor. Your mascots can be guides in a website or app search. And believe us, they are much more interesting and successful than arrows and pointers.
Emotional Appeal of Mascots
As if they aren’t useful enough already, mascots do another truly important thing in the user-centered interface. They collect feedback.
How? Well, we said mascots are almost always human-like. In addition, they can participate in any way of communication with Users on the website or app. If you assign them a task wisely, they can be helpful to the User and the business itself. In the whole process, the mascot connects with the User on an emotional level. So the look of the mascot and the behavior itself can reflect the thoughts and desires of the User.
No wonder many sites use mascot images with different expressions and emotions! Usually, Users get to choose the emotion of the mascot to give feedback on the overall experience. For example, we made stickers of Hiro with a wide range of emotions. Now Hiro stickers can be used anywhere to convey the way you feel.
We use it to emphasize some content of the website, give the tone of voice to our copy, or add some emotion to a notice, warning, or call-up. So, from giving notice to discovering how the Users feel, the mascot can be found in all strategic places in UI / UX design. Not only can it have a function in the system, but it can also be a friendly mediator between the company and customers. Of course, many have realized another function of the mascot. These characters can be abnormally funny-looking. Of course, it all depends on how much humor goes with your brand or personality.
The way it interacts, the mascot can also be that funny guy on the team who cracks up a joke here and there. In fact, the mascot is a team member with certainly more than five positions in the company. So, hire one as quickly as possible!
Memes are the real thing if you want to add a bit of humor!
They are made to amuse people and are very popular these days. You probably know - they rule Social Media. And some websites are dedicated to producing memes daily! So, what is so great about them anyway?
They are versatile!
We use humor in many forms, but Memes can be made out of anything: photos, art, movie shots, interesting situations, pop art, classic art, etc. Almost anything caught on camera. We say humor, but memes are much more than jokes. First of all, they reflect the thoughts and emotions of the audience, the larger masses of people. So when you see them you understand them almost instantly, and have the feeling “Oh, this is so right!”
Why is that? The thing is, memes are based on human topics that are familiar to everyone: famous movies, series, personalities, but also all generally known situations. However, as memes develop, they also relate to some specific groups of people. So they can convey messages that only a certain people or a certain group understands. You may have already guessed - we want to talk about Design Memes.
Design Memes represent those situations that are mostly understood only by designers and design lovers. It is always something fun or interesting about design look, process, designers lifestyle, and the like. Anyone in the world of design will probably understand the jokes related to their work, ideas, thoughts, and struggles. So, memes are attached to groups of people on an emotional, personal level. And that is purely personalization of content.
We have said that personalized content addresses people as the real person, which we all greatly appreciate. Hours spent at the computer, on the Internet, make us wish for more human-like interaction. And a system that understands us. That's why we believe that memes will soon appear in UI / UX designs too! They could bring sites and apps closer to Users with their relatable content.
Now, we just need to figure out a way to embed them into the content! And that will be super fun. We see that many serious companies use memes on Social Media, and they do it in a very authentic way. They almost always tie their memes to their brand, and that's how Branded Memes came about. That shows that memes are certainly not just humorous pictures but are constantly getting new layers.
We can say that memes like these humanize a brand. They share situations related to your business and ideas, in a way that entertains your audience. Yes, we said your audience. Because you have to pay attention to who you are addressing your memes.
So the essentials of Branded Memes are:
Target Audience - because you want your audience to understand (and appreciate) what you convey through memes.
Authenticity - memes that will serve you best must be original and related to your brand, not copies of another brand.
Comprehensibility - you must always keep in mind whether the meme is acceptable to the target audience and how difficult it is to understand.
Well, that's what can make memes popular among your group of people. But what if you want a meme somewhere on a website or app? Well, go for it! We believe that memes can be helpful on sites and apps. If used wisely they will not degrade the professional look of the design. You just have to be careful where you place them.
Memes in UI design could be found in any place where there is room for easing the atmosphere and cracking up a joke. For example, after a smart presentation of your team, a witty meme can follow and convey the good energy of your team. It will not seem silly, believe us. On the contrary, you can leave a good impression through tasteful memes and appear friendly and ready to cooperate.
Then, when screen loading takes a while, you can also save the situation with a funny meme. The 404 error page also desperately yearns for some "We are sorry" meme to fix the day. Of course, we hope that there will be no situations like this because Users don't like them. However, when they are already waiting for the screen to load, they will appreciate seeing an amusing meme.
These are just some of the examples of how you can use memes in UI / UX designs. Believe us, people will appreciate seeing that you are only human, as we all are. After all, personalized content is all about that.
Don't force it. Do not use Memes at any cost, just for fun, because it's not helpful. Internet Users come to the site for something relevant, so humorous content should not appear everywhere. That's not what people want. Users want interesting yet interactive content that will lead them to what they need and deliver a good experience.
And that's just the beginning of our research on elements of personalized design!
Mascots and Memes help you be what you are, all genuine. They also help Users feel comfortable while browsing. Of course, Mascots and Memes can be many things, but we have singled out those features that make them personalized design elements.
Cleverly created and wisely used, Mascots and Memes arevessels of collected human thoughts, ideas, emotions. So wherever they appear, they can reflect the brand and automatically connect with customers, clients, and associates. Sometimes elements like Mascot come to life in a way that they become a walking brand. So don't doubt the power of personalized content!
We could talk about it all day until all the good traits of Mascot and Memes are listed. So we will continue exploring them but also branded illustrations and icons, branded photos, quotes, and other personalized content.
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