I've researched Character Design this week and found some common elements, which are listed below. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts, ideas, and frameworks you use when developing characters.
This seems to be the most important. Your character, if stripped down to a black silhouette, should still be recognizable.
The shapes of your character should be clear in the silhouette. Use big simple shapes. Choose a shape motif (triangle, square, circle) to reduce clutter and emphasize parts of your character that you want to emphasize.
Use shape language. Examples:
Circle - positive, feminine, peaceful, kind, soft, safe, wholeness, happy, or weak
Square - physical, masculine, stable, dependable, disciplined, strong, reliable, independent
Triangle - movement, sharpness, deviation, villainous, severeness, unstable, dangerous
This works best with stylized/cartoon characters. However, it can be used with realistic characters through clothing, hair, and weapons/props.
Posture can also say a lot about your character and whether they are confident, sexy, lazy, shy, monstrous, feminine, masculine, etc.
Your character should be recognizable even when reduced to rectangular color swatches.
Don't use too many colors. Instead, choose a dominant color, and then the other colors should complement, not compete against it.
Use colors to invoke certain moods. Some examples:
Red - dangerous, sexy, love, boldness, strength, courage
Orange - cheerfulness, enthusiasm, creativity
Yellow - liveliness, optimism, happiness, energy
Green - luxurious, optimistic, nature, harmony
Blue - peace, loyalty, honor, trust, depth, stability
Purple - power, royalty, nobility, elegance
Brown - earthy, solid, reliable, genuine
Black - formality, power, strength, elegance
White - purity, newness, peace, innocence
Pink - feminine, loving, caring, nurturing
Color language isn't as straightforward as shape language. For example, yellow can also mean sickness and disease.
Think about the world. Countries closer to the equator tend to have more colorful clothing and artwork, while those closer to the poles have more muted colors and artwork. Now think about the world your character lives in and how geography might affect the color schemes.
Knowing the story of your character can be very beneficial when designing them.
Even if you only have a few words to describe a character's attributes, it can help you with the character design. Is your character meant to be intimidating, big and jolly, depressed, confident, etc.? Identify these things and then use them to figure out shapes, colors, posture, clothing, etc.
What do you all think? Do you agree or disagree with any of this? Do you have anything to add or a certain framework you follow when developing characters for your projects? I'd love to hear from the minds of people in this forum.
Below are some of the resources I looked at. They give visual examples and explain these ideas in further detail:
GOOD vs BAD Character Design: Tips and Tricks! - YouTube
A GUIDE TO GOOD CHARACTER DESIGN (MEGA SUPER ULTIMATE) - YouTube
Top 5 Tips for Character Design - YouTube
Character Design 101 - YouTube
Shape Language - YouTube
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