In Asia, Europe and North America character design styles can differ greatly. What appeals to one culture often doesn't to another. Is "appeal" tied to cultural backgrounds, or is global appeal possible? These are questions that recently sparked a debate in our Linkedin group "Characters".
One group member thought that because of the difference in design styles, universal appeal would be very difficult to achieve. According to him, any attempt to combine the design elements of differing styles could result in strange style hybrids. He also said that forcing such a process was like trying to make a ball fit into a square box.
Another member of "Characters" was not convinced that blending the cultures was the answer. He thought that making characters generic constituted something of a failure for character designers and writers alike. He said that characters needed to be well rooted in their own culture to be attractive to all other cultures.
Then, a group member shared an interesting personal observation. She had noticed that the characters children, she had worked in the US and Japan, found most appealing were characters that represented animals or inanimate objects.
She believed that stripping away the human form just left the character's personality. According to this group member, this made it easier for kids to determine whether or not they liked a character, while establishing a stronger bond in the process.
In response to the many different thoughts expressed during the discussion, one commentator said that one point had become obvious to him, "As characters are manifestations of stories, it therefore seems, judging by some of the great comments here, to be a question of universally appealing storytelling, as well as universally appealing design"
What do you think? Is universal character "appeal" possible? Why not join our discussion and add your thoughts here.