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The mascot we’ve deserved

Dream of my life

I’ve always dreamt of having a mascot that could be easily turned into a toy and given as a gift to everyone who loves it, or into a funny mascot print on a T-shirt to wear every day, or multiplied as a sticker and so on. 

A mascot has many functions. The most important one is to set the company apart from its peers in the market of similar services. Tagline rating alone has 100 great IT companies in each category, which, like us, put much effort into getting their ranking position. And when you look at the statistics in a city with a population of 250,000 and see more than 130 registered IT companies, thoughts of self-identification and tweaking start haunting you. Here, in a small city, this is an especially important challenge for the HR brand. 

And one way to highlight identity is to have a mascot. Plus the mascot makes it easier to communicate with the audience and builds loyalty. 

So we hurled ourselves into work and created our mascot.

The first person I told about this idea, of course, was our head designer Dmitriy. In the photo, he is on the right.

This is what Dmitriy says:

– I liked the idea, especially as it was on the surface. The company needed a mascot to enhance communication outside the company and within the team.

Great. What is next?

Next, the character was to be born, almost literally, with carrying ideas and labour of creativity. The mascot was to be born naturally from the legends and myths of the company, from values and principles, from associations and other things connected with the company brand attributes. At the same time it had to have something resembling a body, and certainly to have a soul. We had nothing resembling a prototype: neither a plant with the name, nor a cat settled in the office, or not even a hamster. In moments of despair, we even looked at the steam generator and tried to animate it.

And then our designer Masha came to help.

We were looking for something associated with programming, IT-technology, at the same time something funny and easy, because there are so many cool guys in the company, friendly, open, free, funny and at the same time cool professionals with ambitions…

First

That’s how three variants appeared: a baby-Dragon, an Alien-coming-seeing-conquering and Mr Crab C//. The C// icon is a shortened version of our Citronium logo.

They were cute but lacked something… Nevertheless, we got the start point to move forward. 

Then the line managers gathered for a brainstorming session in the format of “copy like an artist” or “let’s raise our eyesight”. In general, everyone came well-prepared: they brought images of other companies’ mascots they liked. Everyone explained what they liked about them and what they would like to see in our mascot: what character traits, image details and so on.

This process was not the end… But among the flow of ideas, one sounded crazy at first glance, but there was something about it… Doesn’t this often happen? 

It was the right decision to discuss the mascot with everyone. We spoke about it at our regular conference room, our traditional event. Before it, we collected all the ideas in one of the company’s chat rooms, and they were presented at the conference. 

The ideas were various and even unpredictable… Here they are:

Collective intelligence

The discussion ended up with an animal mascot l. But the species was not chosen. We started further discussions and decided that the animal should coincide the geography of the company. We are from Russia. A bear? A wolf? An elk? The latter is one of the symbols of Mari El, where our office is located. 

We started pulling memories out of the company’s well of memory. The company history comprises 13 years full of events. And the brightest memory of most of the guys is connected with the so-called place of power. One of the company’s offices was located under the roof of a high-rise building and it was called Semnashka (eng. Seventeenthie) because it was on the 17th floor. And now headquarters occupy the top floor of a large office building. Word to remember – height! 

One more important thing is that before discussing a mascot, we did rebranding. And we came up with the black and yellow as corporate colours. 

So, what mascot characteristics we had: it should be a fauna representative located in Russia, the guys’ favourite memory is associated with the office in a high-rise building and our company colours are black and yellow. Do you have any association?

And this is how the mascot created collectively at the conference looked like.

By the way, creativity does take place in developers’ lives. The author of the collective mascot image is a frontend developer.

I’ve dunnit

Going back to the first characteristic – it was a chickadee, because it’s black and yellow and starts with a ‘C’ like our C// logo and, attention, it flies, probably high ) And then the name Cynickadee was also found. And the result of collective discussion, as you can see, came in the right direction, in spite of the craziness of the idea at first. 

We are now at the stage of an almost finished prototype. Thanks to a series of brainstorming sessions we got a description of the future mascot concept, and after a while we got five full-fledged characters to choose from by our chief-designer.

Again, Dima says:

– We wanted something unique, both in appearance and character, but without going overboard. After a rough description of the concept and all the debates, the drawing process took very little time. And in the end, the characters turned out to be both diverse and unique, and at the same time connected with each other, just like the people in our team.

Featura. She is a good girl and got straight A’s at school. She was the smartest in her class. She always has her own opinion. She is easy-going and knows how to have fun. She has a lot of energy. She’s almost always cheerful and positive.

Max. Typical programmer. Company guy, but also an introvert. Prefers to stay home and code than go out to find offline adventures. Max is a very good-natured dinosaur.

Wolfy. A typical fella from the neighbourhood. He has a brash temper. He seems even dangerous sometimes. Wolfy always stands by his words. He’s a gangster and a gentleman at the same time. All in all, a charming dude.

Fluffy. This character is definitely not from around here. He’s from another planet. Fluffy is a soft leader, you want to follow him, but he doesn’t demand it. He is able to stand up for himself and his friend. He has something of Max the dinosaur, but Fluffy is an extrovert and would prefer adventures rather than staying at home alone coding. Anyway, he’s fun to be with in a bar, and there’s no shame in crying on his shoulder.

Cynickadee. This an old wise bird, in other words – experience is her nickname. Cynickadee knows a lot, and her knowledge is capital. She’s intellectually free. Yes, she is cynical and ironic. She knows the worth of real feelings and things. And she will never fritter away her energy. She will always stand up for her fellows. She’ll provide the best. Cynickadee is reliable, she never let you down!

The team liked all the characters and many of them said that all of the characters should all be registered as Citronium mascots. The vote was in favour of Cynickadee and Wolfy. It’s always more fun when you are together! Now we have not a mascot but mascots ♥

Also, here’s what we have. An alternative mascot out of the competition )