TM_Cover_3

TOY DESIGN, ILLUSTRATION & BRANDING

TeeraMizoo! 💕

TeeraMizoo! 💕

A mascot brand focusing on creating cute artifacts and content featuring three animal characters. To mark the launch of the brand, with the help of a 3D Artist, I designed a set of figurines featuring the characters. This is the culmination of 2 semesters of research on how cuteness can influence user experience.

TeeraMizoo showcases the life of three best friends who run an after school dessert club, where they meet up to enjoy some tea and coffee alongside sweets. They met through their mutual love for the dessert 'Tiramisu' and soon started bonding over their interest in all things related to desserts and communal dining.

A mascot brand focusing on creating cute artifacts and content featuring three animal characters. To mark the launch of the brand, with the help of a 3D Artist, I designed a set of figurines featuring the characters. This is the culmination of 2 semesters of research on how cuteness can influence user experience.

TeeraMizoo showcases the life of three best friends who run an after school dessert club, where they meet up to enjoy some tea and coffee alongside sweets. They met through their mutual love for the dessert 'Tiramisu' and soon started bonding over their interest in all things related to desserts and communal dining.

A mascot brand focusing on creating cute artifacts and content featuring three animal characters. To mark the launch of the brand, with the help of a 3D Artist, I designed a set of figurines featuring the characters. This is the culmination of 2 semesters of research on how cuteness can influence user experience.

TeeraMizoo showcases the life of three best friends who run an after school dessert club, where they meet up to enjoy some tea and coffee alongside sweets. They met through their mutual love for the dessert 'Tiramisu' and soon started bonding over their interest in all things related to desserts and communal dining.

THESIS

How does cuteness influence user experience?

ROLES

Research, Illustration, Branding, Sculpting & Painting

Research, Illustration, Branding, Sculpting & Painting

Research, Illustration, Branding, Sculpting & Painting

TOOLS & MATERIALS

Adobe Illustrator, Autodesk Maya, 3D Printer, Flush Cutters, Sandpaper, Metal Filers, Paint Brushes and Palettes, PVC Plastic, Model Grade Acrylic Paint and Matte Varnish

COLLABORATORS

3D Artist and Animator: Apryl Arro

DURATION

Sept. 2019 to April. 2020

Sprint_Content

Some small projects I did for design sprints. I hadn't fully realized what I wanted to do with my thesis at that point of my project.

Some small projects I did for design sprints. I hadn't fully realized what I wanted to do with my thesis at that point of my project.

Some small projects I did for design sprints. I hadn't fully realized what
I wanted to do with my thesis at that point of my project.

Some small projects I did for design sprints. I hadn't fully realized what I wanted to do with my thesis
at that point of my project.

INTENTIONS

What Led Me Here

Before deciding on my thesis topic, I carefully evaluated my interest in different subjects. I thought about my interest in studying escapism, music and auditory nostalgia, and ghosts. After some trial and error I realized what I wanted to explore was cuteness. As an aesthetic, I've used it extensively in my work, but I never tried to understand the concept of it as much; I always took it for granted until I really started studying about it.

I was drawn towards researching the concept of cuteness for two important reasons. The first reason was because I love cute objects and how they make me feel; the sheer sense of joy, warmth and comfort I feel from interacting with anything I find cute, is special to me and can’t be sensed in any other way. I believe the positivity it exudes and the happiness we feel from cuteness, is something that should be appreciated more.

This leads me to my second reason, which is the underappreciation for cuteness and how it is societally devalued. Many often don’t take cute things seriously and believe that anything cute isn’t worth their time. To further my point, there's also a stigma associated with the word cute, because it’s sometimes used to describe things that individuals find trivial or insignificant.

It is hoped through my project people can become aware of cuteness as a mediator of culture and aesthetic richness.

Before deciding on my thesis topic, I carefully evaluated my interest in different subjects. I thought about my interest in studying escapism, music and auditory nostalgia, and ghosts. After some trial and error I realized what I wanted to explore was cuteness. As an aesthetic, I've used it extensively in my work, but I never tried to understand the concept of it as much; I always took it for granted until I really started studying about it.

I was drawn towards researching the concept of cuteness for two important reasons. The first reason was because I love cute objects and how they make me feel; the sheer sense of joy, warmth and comfort I feel from interacting with anything I find cute, is special to me and can’t be sensed in any other way. I believe the positivity it exudes and the happiness we feel from cuteness, is something that should be appreciated more.

This leads me to my second reason, which is the underappreciation for cuteness and how it is societally devalued. Many often don’t take cute things seriously and believe that anything cute isn’t worth their time. To further my point, there's also a stigma associated with the word cute, because it’s sometimes used to describe things that individuals find trivial or insignificant.

It is hoped through my project people can become aware of cuteness as a mediator of culture and aesthetic richness.

Research_Excerpts

A few pages from my Research Book on How Cuteness can Influence User Experience.

RESEARCH

Our Response to Cute

Through my research I came to understand the reason why we enjoy cuteness is because at our core we’re programmed to be lovers, nurturers and protectors. Biologically speaking, human beings were made to respond to baby like qualities so that we can be prompted to take care of them. These baby ike characteristics are found in a variety of cute objects. 

Seeing anything cute elicits happiness and positive emotions, because we want to love and care for others, and have those feelings reciprocated to us. Cuteness encourages us to be lovers, in every sense of the word, to love your family, friends, your partner or child. Our basic survival instinct is to care for others, and that’s how we feel happiness; to love and to be loved by the ones we care about. Even though this is all just biology, I think it's all really sweet.

Being who I am, it felt natural for me to gravitate towards reaserching about how cuteness can influence the human experience. 

Through my research I came to understand the reason why we enjoy cuteness is because at our core we’re programmed to be lovers, nurturers and protectors. Biologically speaking, human beings were made to respond to baby like qualities so that we can be prompted to take care of them. These baby ike characteristics are found in a variety of cute objects. 

Seeing anything cute elicits happiness and positive emotions, because we want to love and care for others, and have those feelings reciprocated to us. Cuteness encourages us to be lovers, in every sense of the word, to love your family, friends, your partner or child. Our basic survival instinct is to care for others, and that’s how we feel happiness; to love and to be loved by the ones we care about. Even though this is all just biology, I think it's all really sweet.

Being who I am, it felt natural for me to gravitate towards reaserching about how cuteness can influence the human experience. 

PROCESS

Designing and Modelling

Like most of my projects, I started off  by sketching potential mascots in my sketchbook. When designing my characters I recalled what I learned from my research and made sure they all had baby like characteristics. I gave them tiny figures, big heads with large foreheads, small mouths and substantially big enough eyes. I created three animal characters – Benny Bunilla the preppy bunny aiming for academic success, Cookie Flan the bear reminiscent of creme caramel, and Nate Pomegran, the half monkey and half pomegranate hybrid.

Since I don't have any experience with 3D Modelling, after I was done sketching I got into contact with Apryl, a 3D Designer I found through a discord server for designers and artists. Apryl was a good fit for my project because just like me, she also appreciates cute things a lot and has experience with modelling cute characters. Once I was done designing a character, I would create a turn around sheet for Apryl that demonstrated how I would like the 3D model to look like, and I added measurements for certain items to make it a bit easier for her to determine the correct sizing for the 3D components.

It was a constant back and forth process of us communicating with each other since sometime’s I would ask to change the design, or request to add extra elements to the model. I belive created a great work environment and relationship built on trust and respect for each other's practice.

Like most of my projects, I started off  by sketching potential mascots in my sketchbook. When designing my characters I recalled what I learned from my research and made sure they all had baby like characteristics. I gave them tiny figures, big heads with large foreheads, small mouths and substantially big enough eyes. I created three animal characters – Benny Bunilla the preppy bunny aiming for academic success, Cookie Flan the bear reminiscent of creme caramel, and Nate Pomegran, the half monkey and half pomegranate hybrid.

Since I don't have any experience with 3D Modelling, after I was done sketching I got into contact with Apryl, a 3D Designer I found through a discord server for designers and artists. Apryl was a good fit for my project because just like me, she also appreciates cute things a lot and has experience with modelling cute characters. Once I was done designing a character, I would create a turn around sheet for Apryl that demonstrated how I would like the 3D model to look like, and I added measurements for certain items to make it a bit easier for her to determine the correct sizing for the 3D components.

It was a constant back and forth process of us communicating with each other since sometime’s I would ask to change the design, or request to add extra elements to the model. I belive created a great work environment and relationship built on trust and respect for each other's practice.

sanding

PROCESS

Pinting and Sanding

After receiving the 3D models Apryl designed for me, I went to Toronto Public Library to print the figurines. Each figurine took from 6 to 8 hours to print at high detail. I learned a lot about 3D printing and the required materials needed to polish and smooth out the figurines. Since my designs had a lot of hanging edges it generated a lot of support towers. My figurines came out encased by these towers, and I had to carefully and patiently cut off each before sanding. After the towers and any additional plastic was cut off, I invested some time into sanding and filing off the ridges to smoothen out the surface as much as I could.

After receiving the 3D models Apryl designed for me, I went to Toronto Public Library to print the figurines. Each figurine took from 6 to 8 hours to print at high detail. I learned a lot about 3D printing and the required materials needed to polish and smooth out the figurines. Since my designs had a lot of hanging edges it generated a lot of support towers. My figurines came out encased by these towers, and I had to carefully and patiently cut off each before sanding. After the towers and any additional plastic was cut off, I invested some time into sanding and filing off the ridges to smoothen out the surface as much as I could.

painting

PROCESS

Painting

Painting

Once I was done sanding, I washed off excess debris and then began painting my characters. I used Acrylic Paint, specifically designed for painting 3D models. The paint set came with all the essential pigments needed to mix them into the colour palette of my characters, but it was quite challenging since painting a figurine was all new to me, and getting the right pigments was rather difficult. There were moments when I accidentally smudged some paint on an already finished surface, so I had to to re-make the pigment and re-paint the affected surface again. 

Once I was done sanding, I washed off excess debris and then began painting my characters. I used Acrylic Paint, specifically designed for painting 3D models. The paint set came with all the essential pigments needed to mix them into the colour palette of my characters, but it was quite challenging since painting a figurine was all new to me, and getting the right pigments was rather difficult. There were moments when I accidentally smudged some paint on an already finished surface, so I had to to re-make the pigment and re-paint the affected surface again. 

TM_CoverIMG2

FINAL OUTCOME

The Squad's All Here 🌼🌷🌻

The Squad's All Here 🌻

I believe creating figurines out of my TeeraMizoo mascots was the best and most appropriate way to encapsulate my thesis. Being able to see my mascots in a three dimensional space and not just on my screen is a rewarding experience that I would recommend any character designer or artist to partake in atleast once in their practice. I'm concluding my thesis project in this manner, to represent and observe how even a small piece of artifact like a cute little figurine of a character, is able to evoke a unique sense of joy and contentment that deserves to be celebrated in design.

Alongside the figurines, I also designed a totebag featuring Cookie Flan that's currently up for sale. Once the pandemic has ended and the virus comes under control, I hope to create more merchandise. As of now I'm looking into vinyl, resin and also plush toy manufacturing, so that my characters can be available in a physical format for fans to enjoy in the future.

I believe creating figurines out of my TeeraMizoo mascots was the best and most appropriate way to encapsulate my thesis. Being able to see my mascots in a three dimensional space and not just on my screen is a rewarding experience that I would recommend any character designer or artist to partake in atleast once in their practice. I'm concluding my thesis project in this manner, to represent and observe how even a small piece of artifact like a cute little figurine of a character, is able to evoke a unique sense of joy and contentment that deserves to be celebrated in design.

Alongside the figurines, I also designed a totebag featuring Cookie Flan that's currently up for sale. Once the pandemic has ended and the virus comes under control, I hope to create more merchandise. As of now I'm looking into vinyl, resin and also plush toy manufacturing, so that my characters can be available in a physical format for fans to enjoy in the future.

TM_Cookie1
TM_Benny1
TM_Nate1
TM_B&C1_V2
TM_B&C2
TM_B&C3

CONCLUSION

Final Remarks

I like to think that cuteness was a defining factor for me growing up, because it helped me grow as an artist and shaped my identity in some ways. I wouldn’t be the artist that I am today if it wasn’t for my interest in cute things, and my love for it has translated into me making my own cute characters and artwork. So naturally, I thought to summarize my findings was to create TeeraMizoo, because I too want to be able to create something cute that can bring joy into the everyday lives of people. With TeeraMizoo, I also hope to talk about my design ethos of positivity and friendship. It’s about forming a community of people who can appreciate cuteness, and can come to adore the three friends and the bond they share. 

I like to think that cuteness was a defining factor for me growing up, because it helped me grow as an artist and shaped my identity in some ways. I wouldn’t be the artist that I am today if it wasn’t for my interest in cute things, and my love for it has translated into me making my own cute characters and artwork. So naturally, I thought to summarize my findings was to create TeeraMizoo, because I too want to be able to create something cute that can bring joy into the everyday lives of people. With TeeraMizoo, I also hope to talk about my design ethos of positivity and friendship. It’s about forming a community of people who can appreciate cuteness, and can come to adore the three friends and the bond they share. 

Be sure to check out @teeramizoo on IG for updates!

Special thanks to Jamie & Apryl for helping me
realize this project. 🍰☕️ 

Be sure to check out @teeramizoo on IG for updates!

Special thanks to Jamie & Apryl for helping me
realize this project. 🍰☕️ 

Be sure to check out @teeramizoo on IG for updates!

Special thanks to Jamie & Apryl for helping me
realize this project. 🍰☕️ 

Be sure to check out @teeramizoo on IG for updates!

Special thanks to Jamie & Apryl for helping me realize this project. 🍰☕️