J. Kos-Whicher Studio – Creating a Character


Our studio was approached by Jessica with a fun task: to develop a character, coined Blue Note, who would help her students with the difficult technical work involved when singing. The idea is that if you let this character focus on technique, the students are able to relax and express themselves more creatively.

The Process

The challenge in creating Blue Note is that this character needed to be gender neutral, and not necessarily human-based. When conceptualizing the character, Jessica didn’t have a specific form in mind, so our studio was given the space to explore several different approaches.

First, we researched other branded character concept approaches – such as the 3D Clippy from Microsoft, the head-only Mailchimp character, simple linework like the Reddit logo, and the Cambrian Unfee character who is made of flat shapes. The possibilities of what Blue Note could look like were endless, so we worked to narrow down illustration styles first. Given J. Kos-Whicher Studio’s logo, we opted for a flat illustration style so that the character would be consistent with the other brand elements.

The Concepts

After establishing the illustration style, we developed two concepts to the character: a human-based concept and a more abstract concept. Both approaches lean into the music motif – either a microphone or a treble clef with a sheet of music.

The Final Product

We landed on a human-based approach to Blue Note because of the relatability, both in form and in ability to express emotions. This also allows the character to interact with objects in a different manner than it would if it didn’t have arms or legs – we’re able to have Blue Note play the drums, hold a microphone, and sit on a student’s shoulder, for example.

Blue Note is featured in J. Kos-Whicher Studio’s digital ads and on her social media pages. We manipulate the character to interact with various photos, or in a scene all by itself to infuse the content with personality, as well as assist with explaining techniques and concepts Jessica and her team teach in the studio.