Family Focus Federal Credit Union came to the PLAY Creative team in need of a name and face for a kids’ money program they planned to launch for members. Since the program would revolve around teaching kids good habits with their money, Family Focus wanted both a name for the program and a pair of characters to represent it with a design style that would appeal to a young audience.
With the audience in mind, the PLAY team suggested hand-painted style illustrations for the program art. After some brainstorming, we decided to aim for a children’s book illustration look and feel.
When Family Focus decided that the characters would be named “Bella the Butterfly” and “Cody the Caterpillar,” our team got to work planning and sketching initial ideas the characters. We also began brainstorming a name for the program that would fit both the Family Focus brand and the design aesthetic we wanted to achieve.
Extensive research by the creative team went into the first iteration of sketches, including analysis of character art on children’s shows, movies and books. Then, after a first round of ideas and sketches, we thoroughly reviewed the early work with our initial design goals in mind. When the refinement stage began, we continued to reference more sources of kid-friendly illustrations to further ensure the design style would appeal to kids.
From there, we were able to sketch movements, interactions and body gestures of the characters for a kid-friendly design sensibility. Then, we could finally render out the first round of illustrations for Bella and Cody. With the look and feel rendered, we refined the colors with the Family Focus brand in mind.
Every aspect of the design from the color palette to the distressed feel to the actual positioning of the characters relative to one another was talked out and implemented in numerous iterations before landing on a set of illustrations we knew Family Focus would love.
Playing off Bella the Butterfly, we created the name and slogan for the program: Monarch’s Money Club: Spread Your Wings and Spend!
With the program named and final mark developed, we provided Family Focus with all the elements they would need to use the characters—together or separate—across various applications and media. We even rendered black and white line art versions of our characters that could be used in a coloring book. After all, the goal of the project was to create dynamic character illustrations that could be used in numerous media.