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Designing a mascot costume to accurately represent your brand can be a challenge. Sometimes mascot ideas need changes during the design process to accommodate usability. Everyone wants their mascot design to be extravagant and over the top, but flashy design elements often limit the functionality and ease-of-use of the costume.
If you want your mascot to be active and be able to perform at its best, you will need to balance your design with the functionality of the mascot costume. In this article, we will outline some things for you to consider when designing your costume to maximize its performance.
Many organizations create their mascot based on a logo or digital character that already exists. When transforming your 2D logo into a 3D character, some features may be unbalanced and may need alterations.
Your mascot design may not accommodate a performer inside, so features such as arm holes or legs need to be added to make the costume function. Little changes should not make your brand less recognizable, but if you are worried about the effects of the alterations, ask a mascot professional for some solutions.
It is extremely important that your mascot costume is designed in human proportions. Your mascot performer needs to be able to function in the costume, which is easiest if the costume is proportional to their body size. The desired height range of the costume should be within three inches of the performer’s height. Making sure your mascot costume is made in human proportions will make it easier for your mascot performer to move around.
MASCOT TIP: Choose your mascot performers based on the height range of the costume.
You may want your mascot costume to be super tall or wide so that it stands out in a crowd. If your mascot will only perform outside, these features won’t be a problem. If you plan on having your mascot inside, you might need to reconsider the sizing of your mascot.
A standard ceiling is roughly eight feet tall, and standard doorways range anywhere from 18 to 36 inches wide. Consider these measurements when designing your mascot costume, especially if you expect your mascot to perform inside.
If the costume stands too tall, your mascot’s performance will be less effective, or your mascot might not be able to perform at all. If your mascot performer constantly hits the ceiling or is too worried about hitting the ceiling, that will limit the performance. If the costume is too wide, it may not fit through a door and won’t be able to perform in the desired location. If your mascot costume design is tall, make sure that the body suit is easily bendable so the mascot performer can bend down to fit through doors.
Size also plays a role when shipping and storing your costume. If your mascot costume is too large, you may run into problems when trying to transport your costume. Make sure you have adequate storage space and have a transportation plan when designing an oversized mascot costume.
Have you ever tried running a marathon with shoes triple your normal size? Imagine your mascot performer trying to run around and engage with fans and tripping over the feet of your costume. If you want your mascot to be dancing, running, or doing anything active, you should make sure that your costume doesn’t have large, bulky feet. Even if your mascot design shows large shoes or feet, you may need to substitute those for smaller, more functional shoes for your performer.
Hands are just as important as the feet of your mascot costume. Mascot performers always use their hands to interact with people and hold objects, so the gloves of the costume need to accommodate for that. Mobility can improve by having five finger gloves instead of three or four fingers, or you could choose to opt for football or baseball gloves. Extremely active mascots that rely on their hands a lot often use football gloves to maximize mobility.
One of the biggest challenges for a mascot performer is not having a clear line of vision in the costume. If your mascot performer can’t see, they aren’t going to be able to function to their best ability. Depending on how active your mascot will be, the visibility requirements will vary. Where you add vision holes will depend on the size and structure of your mascot costume. You can learn more about mascot heads and vision here.
To keep your mascot performing at its best, make sure to follow these guidelines when creating your mascot costume design. If you have any questions about how to design your mascot, reach out to a mascot professional. To learn more about important design elements, read our previous blog on mascot design tips.