The enduring appeal of mascots

Mascots might not be considered cutting edge, but as Tripadvisor’s new logo shows, they can still be a great way to add personality and charm to a visual identity 

From Colonel Sanders to the Michelin man, mascots are an important feature of some of the world’s most famous brands. Characters – whether human, animal or fictional – were once a staple of visual identities. But with the rise of digital-first identities and ‘frictionless design’, they had begun to feel a little out of date.

Brands no longer have to rely on logos and typefaces to express their personality – instead, they can use a whole range of assets, from gestures to icons, animations and UX design – and with more and more companies prioritising convenience over quirk and charm, it seemed the mascot was in danger of falling out of fashion. 

But there’s an enduring appeal to creatures and characters; they undoubtedly remain a powerful way to stand out. So could the humble mascot be making a comeback?

Last week, Mother Design in New York unveiled a new logo for Tripadvisor (part of a much wider project to refresh the brand’s visual identity), which saw its 20-year-old owl mascot ‘Ollie’ given a facelift. Ollie 2.0 is simpler, cleaner and devoid of colour, and has been brought to life in a series of playful animations.