5 Tips For Creating Character Design Concepts

Updated on October 19, 2021

Many of the classic characters known from cartoons and films, we remember because of their simplicity, but this simplicity was created through the work of many hours.

Character design has always tried to keep things simple, from the creation of Mickey Mouse, which was created to save production time, for animation in the 1920s, to the elegant simplicity of Homer Simpson’s character.

But apart from simple lines and easy to read, what else should we know? Where and what to exaggerate, what to add depth and what to do to create personality? Once you have an idea, these tips to breathe life into your character.


Think about your audience. Characters, mainly for a children’s audience, are mostly composed of simple shapes and bright colors. If you work for a customer, then the audience is predefined.

“Custom character designer for hire are usually limited, but require as much creativity as others. Customers have special needs. Usually I will highlight the future features and personality of the character. “. – says Nathan Jurevicius, Australian artist.

Decide where it will be shown

Where will the character design be shown and in what environment? This has a direct impact on what kind of design it will have. For example, if a character is created for a telephone game, then it makes no sense to create it with a lot of intricate details.

Nathan Jurevicius says that despite the different formats: “… the process of creating a concept always starts the same way: paper, pencil, green tea … a lot of miniatures, notes of ideas, sketch by sketch.”

Explore other concepts

This will help you understand why some character concepts did their job well and others didn’t. There is plenty of material, character concepts are popping up everywhere: 

  • in TV ads; 
  • cereal boxes;
  • signs; 
  • fruit stickers; 
  • animations on mobile phones, etc. 

Consider character concepts and reflect on what you like about them and what you don’t; why it looks better or not.

Make your character special

When you create a monkey, robot, or monster, you know very well that the network is full of other concepts of the same subject. Therefore, your task is to make the concept attractive and visually interesting, you have to attract people.

When designing the characters for The Simpsons, Matt Groening knew he had to offer the audience something new. He thought it would be something special for them. When the viewer flips through the channels and suddenly stumbles upon characters with bright yellow skin, interest arises.

Don’t miss the original idea

Our favorite projects and works can influence what we do now. For example, head of indie games studio Jo-Mei Cornelia Geppert is a fan of The Last Guardian, which has a unique aesthetics and great characters. This love prevented the studio from developing the new game Sea of ​​Solitude.

During development, one of the team members told Cornelia that the design of Sea of ​​Solitude was too similar to Kevuru Games, Cornelia returned to the first sketches and managed to feel what she experienced while creating them – this is how the original idea returned to the project.

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