Thursday, 1 March 2012

Cute and Appealing: Find the Circle

Pinkie Pie character designs. left: G3  right: G4
The diagram above shows two completely different renditions of the same character, Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony. The version on the right was redesigned by Lauren Faust for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Her involvement in the revamping of the brand helped make My Little Pony insanely popular, even beyond the intended young girl demographic.

I am always surprised just how human Lauren Faust's ponies look. Unlike the previous incarnation of ponies, who have more anatomically real head shapes, the ponies in their current format have round heads and squat noses.

Circles and harmonious arcs everywhere
All of the female ponies in MLP:FiM have spherical heads as a base, and a minimal snout. From some angles, even their torsos appear to be perfect circles. Their massive eyes consist of many more elliptical shapes. Throughout the designs of each character, circular arcs can be found. Previous generations of ponies were severely lacking in this round cuteness, as you can see in the G3 version further above.

The new designs of the ponies are arguably one of the reasons why many outside of the girl demographic can relate with the characters so easily. The simple circle is inviting and safe. It doesn't look as creepy as the other anthropomorphised horses do.

On a side note, it is interesting how the toys that correlate with the animated series do not have the same circular roundness that the animated version has. Many of the die-hard fans of the show complain that the toys just don't look enough like their beloved cartoon manifestations. Do they subconsciously see the appealing circles in the design?

Use the circle
Earlier I posed a drawing of two of my parents' dogs. Posting it on Facebook drew a big positive response, with many remarking that it was very cute and adorable. I had deliberately used the circle to make them even cuter. While their personalities are not forcefully cute (Sachi is a drama queen and Chewbie growls if you don't give him food), their round appearance makes them approachable and friendly. You can see in the original sketch that they were not so round to begin with. The lines were conformed to a circular pattern in the same manner as some of the cartoon examples mentioned in previous posts. Even their teeth and fur, which I would have naturally drawn with sharper edges, have been deliberately rounded off.

The circle has some subconsious effect on people, and when used, it can make characters more visually appealing. It certainly doesn't solve everything, but it is something reliable to fall back on. In the next post, I will try to take one of my uninspiring designs, and attempt to make him more appealing to the eye, using circles.

No comments:

Post a Comment