All about mascot logos and where should they be used?

If you’ve gone through some of my logo design blogs, you might have read this a lot “a logo is the face of your brand”.

Even though I have never really meant that so literally, I do now!

Your logo can actually have a face – yes one with eyes, a nose (optional) and a mouth at the least. Mostly there’s a body attached as well. Okay I did not intend to creep you out there but you’ve read the title so you probably know where I’m heading with this.

We pass by several Mascot logos every day. Heck, you and I order fried chicken and burgers often with a mascot on the packaging – it’s just that you have become so accustomed to these mascot logos that they don’t seem anything out of the ordinary anymore.

That’s the beauty of a great mascot logo – it doesn’t creep you out (unless the intention is to do so such as in thriller games). However, when you’re trying to connect with customers on an emotional level, mascot logos are your best bet!

We all know mascots originated from sports at high school and college tournaments but the purpose remains the same even when they get incorporated into logos – connecting with the fans/customers.

Before we move on to the phase where you can decide whether or not a mascot logo will look appealing as the face of your brand, let’s have a round-up of some famous mascot logos and the types of mascot logos in existence.

Types of Mascot Logos

Mascot logos aren’t restricted to, but are most popular in the entertainment sector – particularly gaming. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist out of this box. Even the finance and automobile sectors use mascots to make that emotional connection with customers.

Mascots that satisfy your appetite

As I mentioned earlier, you probably meet several mascots every day when you’re out for lunch or even order it to work. We just don’t realize that these familiar faces are a brand’s mascot. For food chains or restaurants, mascot logos need to be welcoming, non-repulsive and one that can call customers to enjoy a “happy” meal.

Colonel Sanders

You meet the smiling Colonel almost every week if you’re a chicken fan! Call me biased but when it comes to chicken the Kentucky Fried chickens have no parallel.

Okay let’s not make everyone hungry.

Colonel Sanders has been the literal face of KFC since 1952, the brand’s inception. The Colonel however did not look so happy once upon a time, nor was the logo so colorful. Nevertheless, the Colonel did earn a reputation – sometimes good, sometimes bad but all owing to KFC’s right or wrong branding.

In 1991 however, KFC sought to change its logo – though not entirely. They wanted to keep the Colonel since it had already gained much popularity. They made him look happier and replaced the black and white with black and red. Thus, the mascot logo which once had quite a serious disposition started to look more welcoming and youthful with a smiling old Colonel – pretty ironic, no?

KFC - Mascot Logo Design

Wendy, the red-head

This mascot logo is no less than the perfect depiction of how your emotions can be illustrated through a logo – and of course connect with your audience.

We are all emotional creatures.

America’s favorite burger (along with Burger King and McDonalds) gets its mascot logo from its founder, Dave Thomas’s daughter Melinda – Lou. No, she didn’t design the logo, she is the logo!

Did you think mascots were just fictional characters? Wendy was actually Melinda-Lou’s nickname. Dave Thomas not only named his fast-food restaurant after his daughter but even the mascot logo he had designed is a cartoonish illustration of Wendy.

Wendy - Mascot Logo

Initially the logo was quite “busy” as the minimalism wave hadn’t washed away the idea of a crowded logo till then. The mascot logo featured Wendy’s cartoonish portrait till her shoulders, enclosed within a circle – like an emblem.

In 2013 however, the logo was modernized – and for good reason. The image of Wendy was zoomed-in (thereby removing her shoulders), revealing only her face with pigtails that popped out of the circle.  

Wendy's - Mascot Logo Design

Jovny, the Vlasic Stork

USA’s most sought-after pickle is represented by a Stork! Come again? What’s the relationship between a stork and pickles? Don’t storks feed on fish or crabs?   

Mascot logos can be used to represent not just emotional attachment or the founder of your company, Vlasic proved that these logos can originate from serious issues!

Confused? Of course you are! Let me clear the fog.

Founded by a US immigrant, Frank Vlasic, the pickle company did not have a stork until 1974. During this time the birthrate had dropped drastically in the US. Did you make the connection yet?

Storks are known to deliver babies in stories told to children, keeping their innocent minds away from any PG details – parents will know this for sure. Due to the low birthrate, storks were delivering pickles instead of babies to keep the few child-bearing moms satisfied!

Vlasic - Mascot Logo Design

The analogy worked well, since Vlasic was able to market the idea of catering to the needs of pregnant women who mostly crave pickles.

Absolutely brilliant I say!

Marketing an issue with a mascot logo is something we can surely learn from the pickle expert.

Need a mascot logo that can really get customers rushing towards your food joint? Contact me and we’ll discuss how your logo can have a face that appeals to your target market.  

I think you should read this also: Why I prefer professional logo designers over online logo makers? Why “Logo Makers” and “Logo Creator” are Just Garbage? This guide will help you to choose the right designers.

Mascots that keep your head in the game!

The gaming industry is flooded with mascots – no surprises there! These logos are supposed to be attractive to gamers. They make use of sharp colors and bold fonts to catch the right eye. Even though gaming company logos don’t usually have any mascots in the logo itself, their most popular games will always have a mascot that becomes the signature logo of the parent company.

Uncle Pennybags

The richest mascot logo that I know! If you’ve ever played a game of Monopoly (and I’m assuming that you have), you must surely have come across Uncle Pennybags – more popularly known as Mr. Monopoly.

With his classic tuxedo, a gentleman’s hat and a cane, Uncle Pennybags represents the essence of the game – to become filthy rich! 

Monopoly - Mascot Logo Design

Even though our beloved Mr. Monopoly was removed from the logo itself in 2017, he continues to be a valuable face for the brand until today and serves as a valuable example of how something as simple as a board game can spring to life with a cheerful, rich mascot – literally rich in this case.

Sonic, the blue Hedgehog

How can we talk about gaming mascot logos and not mention the Hedgehog that made our weekends a blast!

Growing up (and as grownups), we’ve all had our association with Sonic, the hedgehog who was not only the mascot logo for one of the world’s most popular gaming brand (SEGA) but even had his own game.

Even though the logo went through some modifications in 1999, Sonic was never abandoned. They just couldn’t do it even if they wanted to. You hear or read Sonic and you see the blue colored hedgehog being painted in your mind.

That’s the beauty of a powerful mascot logo – customers just can’t let go of it (or allow you to do so).

Sonic - Mascot Logo Design

The sonic mascot logo is actually a silhouette of the original 3D character illustrated by the artists at Sonic Games.

Even though the original logo for SEGA GAMES is much simpler and doesn’t feature any mascot, what SEGA needed was an animated character that could beat Nintendo’s Mario! See how mascots too fight a battle in the branding arena?

Here’s an interesting trivia about this logo.

Oshima the designer whom we owe our spiked friend to, drew 3 sketches of different characters that could qualify as SEGA’s mascot logo.

In a survey at Central Park, Manhattan, Oshima asked people to choose one of the three sketched figures. The hedgehog received the most votes and thus outrun the dog and an egg man.

Notice how much time and effort goes into finalizing a mascot logo. Simply because it could go very right or extremely wrong and you’ll either have to live with it miserably or abandon it if it goes towards the latter’s end.

Automobile logos – Mascots that take you for a creative ride!

Astonishingly enough you get to see a lot of creativity in the automobile industry when we’re talking about mascot logos. Of course mascots don’t come with a BMW or Mercedes, but extravagant vehicles aren’t the only members in the automobile family.

Michelin Man – the tire wonder

Anyone who loves to ride or who loves a good branding/advertising campaign will surely know Michelin Man – the mascot logo that represent Michelin a renowned tire company.

Initially the creative and somewhat adorable mascot was named Bibendum but Michelin Man had a greater recall, hence that’s what the mascot is now called.      

He was introduced by the Michelin brothers in 1894 and was aimed to be nothing more than a man made of tires. Very soon however, this man had charmed customers and become a charming brand identity for Michelin.

Michelin - Mascot Logo Design

Geico Gecko the most famous lizard

Perhaps the most popular reptile after Lacoste’s crocodile, Gecko is a lizard that sells car insurance. The reason why Gecko was created has its roots in the fact that customers could not gauge the correct pronunciation of Geico.

Geico - Mascot Logo Design

Well, whatever the reason might be and however repulsive we might find lizards to be (at least I do), this is one reptile that doesn’t creep you out. On the contrary Gecko gives you quite a welcoming smile and let me tell you this is one mascot logo that has even starred in television commercials alongside marvel superheroes!

Yeah, the animated character actually gives car insurance advises to our very own fictional superheroes.

Munching Mascots – the snack-time logos

Your favorite munchies and crunchies are mostly accompanied by mascot logos. Snack-time logos (as I like to call them) feature mostly bubbly creatures that children and adults alike can associate with – after all Cheetos are loved by a 10 year old and a 30 year old.

Julio Pringles

There’s a lot of potato chips out there but just one Pringles – similarly there’s just one Julio Pringles, the mustached mascot that you recognize better than the brand name itself.

Haven’t you ever felt that a round faced, mustached man with a center parting as a mascot for the Pringles logo is a bit odd? They’re chips not a salon!

Pringles - Mascot Logo Design

It really isn’t once you get to know the logo better. Look at a Pringles chip and then at Mr. Pringles. The face of our nostalgic mascot logo looks like a Pringle! The even shape of the logo also hints quite subtly that each Pringle is of the same size (which is true!).

The debonair Mr. Peanut

The 100 year old Mr. Peanut is probably the most famous nut on the planet. Any propositions by the company to change the logo has always received negative customer feedback. Such is the fan base for Mr. Peanut.

It’s an epic example of how a mascot logo can truly get implanted into the hearts and minds of customers.

A fun fact is that the debonair looking peanut wasn’t created by a creative artist at some big agency. It was the work of a 14 year old boy who drew the peanut with a can and hat. The founder of Planters, Amedeo Obici, asked people in 1916, to draw a logo that should be the identity of his company.

At that time peanuts were the core product of Planters.

The winning mascot was created by the teenager Antonio Gentile. Let me just tell you how much people love Mr. Peanut.

About a decade ago, the company launched a survey asking the public what change would they like to see in the traditional mascot? Some cufflinks, a bow tie or perhaps a pocket watch?

In response to this, people said: “Don’t change anything”! If that’s not a successful mascot logo, I don’t know what is.

Planters - Mascot Logo Design

Should you use a mascot logo for your brand?

It all comes back to “it depends”. What do you wish to communicate? Mascot logos are mostly used by brands that want to convey how a fun-feel. This doesn’t mean they aren’t professional or even serious. The Geico Car Insurance company is a classic example of a mascot logo that’s fun to watch yet conveys some serious messages – not to mention the product/service itself is of course serious.

Hence, even if you don’t belong to the world of video games or quirky snacks, you can still use a mascot logo to represent your brand’s fun-loving, welcoming and cordial identity.

  • A Picture of Waqas D.

    Waqas D.

Waqas D. is the co-founder of the branding and website agency, FullStop™. He supercharges brands by crafting memorable logos, brand identities and engaging websites. Besides thousands of startups and medium-size businesses, FullStop has worked with likes of Microsoft & L’Oréal. View our portfolio or get in touch.

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