Character Design Tips from Jon Burgerman

According to leading illustrator Jon Burgerman, when creating characters, the design process can be a daunting task. Character design or character development is a task so tricky that most of the time, the simplest cartoons, movies, and advertising characters have all required a great amount of work hours into their development just to achieve the right combination of elements that have made characters like Mickey Mouse as well as The Simpsons work and sell through the years.


The Simpsons by Matt Groening

Jon Burgerman came up with tips that will help jumpstart your perfect character design. Take a look at this summarized comprehensive list of what to do and what not to do. Get the right formula by:

  1. Determining the target audience along with where the design will be seen. When starting on a character design, have the right target audience in mind and make sure it fits a certain medium or fits which media outlet it has been made for. Overcoming this step also requires a good amount of research so look up other designs that have worked through the years to get pointers that can be used to your advantage.
  2. Work on a character that has a unique or a distinctive design memorable enough to stick with the audience. An example of characters with a brilliant design is The Simpsons by Matt Groening. The Simpsons’ design and bright yellow skin color were done in order to grab the attention of viewers as they scan through the TV channels. This also includes working on exaggerated characteristics, colors, accessories, personality, among other distinctive features.
  3. Develop your character’s back story, along with their respective goals and dreams. Your character’s story together with their goals and dreams work as the driving force behind the character’s personality and achievement. Together with the backstory, experiment to see what works and what doesn’t work. Trying something may lead to unexpected outcomes.
  4. Fine-tune your design. Fine-tuning your work would require a number of steps starting from getting feedback from other people, getting better equipment or even just a simple change of scenery from digital to traditional and back, and then alter as you go along.

Work with these tips and customize as you go along. Hopefully the tips provide the right amount of inspiration to get you the results you look for without any shortcuts.


Here at MicroCreatives, we also take character design seriously, and also enjoyably! Here are samples of our character designs were made to interact with our equally unique and quirky creative team.


MicroCreatives character design

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