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While you are developing a design concept for your mascot, you should keep in mind some important points. We've designed some very successful mascots, and are glad to share some of our tips with you.

Audiences like all kinds of animal mascots best, especially if they are cartoon-like, not realistic. Cartoon mascots appear friendly and safe.

• The best designs follow the human body shape. Big heads, tails, and feet will restrict performers and are not safe.

A happy, friendly face gets the best audience response. Fierce or powerful mascots are seen as bullies.

• Good teams win games, good mascots win hearts.

Simplicity lasts longer than complexity. Don't pay more for fancy gadgets that look good in a detailed drawing. They won't show up from the 50-yard line.

• Bright, solid colors get the best psychological and visual response. Red and orange can be seen from the farthest distance in a stadium or in a retail crowd.

Team logos and advertising are most effective above the waist, on a mascot's chest and back.

• From the waist down, the mascot should be as comfortable as possible for the performer. Otto the Orange is the most difficult shape for performing -- a ball. But he can climb pyramids because he is completely mobile from his waist to his feet.

Soft mascot heads are better for athletics than hard heads. Hard heads show more facial detail, but soft heads are lightweight and flexible. And you can use that big squishy mouth to "eat" your coach's head when you win!

• All mascots are hot. Built-in fans don't work, but chest ice packs do. A mascot that is light in weight and has a good field of vision will feel cooler to a performer.

Even shy people can be good performers once they're hidden in a mascot -- so have fun!

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