Smashing Cartoons created by Ricardo Gimenes published Smashing Magazine.
“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow”. I start with Bill Gates’ words because his analogy refers to the humanization of the webosphere. Town square? Village? The digital world has indeed begun to emulate the physical one – we do a lot of our learning and socializing online. People love to interact on the web, which begs the question: is your brand’s website full of life? Is it expressive? Is it relatable? Is it versatile? Well, it should be.
Today’s Internet users want to deal with brands that convey a ‘human feeling’. In other words, people want to visit websites where brands have personality, so if you still haven’t managed to accomplish this, and a great way for you to bring your online brand to life and give it a compelling persona is by using web characters.
Web characters are great because they add a colored, fun, playful, and often refreshing personality to brands, this is something that will immediately catch the consumers attention so that when they enter your site will be drowned to it’s friendly, interesting, and overall pleasant look
The Glory of Expression
Emotion: Web characters have faces, facial features and express emotions. As web designers, you have the unique ability to emotionally connect with your audience through characters through the endless possibilities of facial expression design.
The Mail Chimp monkey’s toothy white smile shows the company’s gosh-darn excited to be flying high with social media.
Body language: Anatomy is also another fantastic expressive medium.
Fist pump like a champ chimp!
Personification: When brands create web characters that re enact things that the business’ would do, it is called personification. These characters are images of the brand in action, and often also take on the symbolic role of a mascot to illustrate the brand’s traits/characteristics in online media.
The Mail Chimp is your cute, furry, chunky-monkey email delivery friend.
The Silverback gorilla provides guerrilla usability testing software for designers and developers in the web jungle.
Dress up: Your web character can further act like a doll you can style up for different occasions and purposes.
The SEOmoz robot started out with hair. Then hard work made him rich and bald. Story of our lives?
The power of relatability
Twenty-first century consumers are about ‘me, me, me’. To earn their trust and develop loyalty, digital brands need to mirror their customers’ identity and passion. In short, relatability builds relationships. You need to make sure you shine through the anonymity of the web – and one way to do that is by using web characters.
Self cartoons: These are awesome because an animated version of yourself strikes a good balance between protecting your need for a little privacy and your audience’s need to see who they’re interacting with online. Plus, cartoons are fun and add a touch of personality and openness to your website. And you don’t have to put up a picture so no more worrying about what flaws Photoshop can erase.
The Smashing Magazine team was pulled down into the Loony Tunes world like Michael Jordon in Space Jam. Does anyone else even remember that movie?
Self cartoons also say a lot about you. Selene is pictured with her laptop and sunglasses meaning she loves the webosphere and probably lives somewhere sunny.
Similar interests & passions: Web characters can connect you with your consumers by visually sharing their interests, hobbies, and passion.
The Chubby Grub web character likes fast food and fatness and fat people who eat fatty foods. Oh hells yea.
The importance of versatility
Finally, web characters give life to your online brand by being agile, responsive, and changeable. You can customize them to various settings and purposes all the while letting your consumers play with them too. When your audience starts creating their own variations of your characters, they have become fans, increase your brand awareness, and are engaged with your business. In this case, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Behold the amazing, changing, Houdini Twitter bird! The social networking giant’s web character is supremely versatile yet instantly recognizable. Above, variations made by the company and its users/fans.
Remember: Humanizing is about personality
Smashing Cartoons published Smashing Magazine.
Even though the web is playing a bigger role in people’s lives, we are inherently emotional, social beings. We’re attracted to digital brands that are lively, entertaining, and full of character. As a web designer, build a brand personality that is meaningful, expressive, distinct, and allows consumer collaboration. Believe in engaging your audience with authentic, visually alluring web characters.
“Passionate Marketing Specialist, freelance blogger, social media enthusiast, and firm believer in creative thinking in today’s age of new marketing. I’ve worked with General Electric and Microsoft in North America. Currently, I’m based out of Boston and love reading, design, and everything artsy.”Connect with me! https://twitter.com/#!/annumattique”