Very early on in this long running discussion in our Linkedin group, an American writer declared "Scrappy Doo" to be the ultimate in bad character design.
The author who started the discussion agreed, adding that he found him highly irritating, and considered him to be a tack on character to boost "Scooby Doo's" ratings with children. According to this group member, "Scrappy Doo" was to blame for the decline of the original show, and apart from his annoying catchphrase "Puppy Power!", he also seemed to lack any purpose in the series.
A motion graphic/3D contrator also remembered disliking "Scrappy Doo" as a child. His voice rubbed him up the wrong way and he thought that his head looked creepy on his little body. This artist wondered whether there are any rules on what not to do when designing a character. He also wanted to know whether there are specific sets of rules for designing characters for children, adults, games, stand-alone stories and series.
The member who started this discussion replied by saying that there are no rules in art and that character designers should trust their instincts.
He then went on to say that bad character design is often simply the result of financial constraints. He thought that the budgets of smaller productions frequently don't allow for the kind of care and attention given to character design by large film studios, for example.
This point was picked up by the motion graphic/3D contractor, who also pointed out that character designers are not normally involved in the early stages of character creation. They usually receive their design briefs after the character has been developed by producers and writers. This means that the designers often have no impact on the core of characters.
Given that opinions about certain characters differed considerably during the discussion, the writer who started it thought that it might be helpful to come up with a set of criteria, that could help define what a bad character is.
In response, a technical artist said that there is no way to define a "bad" character. As far as he is concerned, apart from personal taste, their are just too many variables to take into account, such as the visual style, the character's personality, and whether it is adequate for its media format or not.
But what do you think? Why not join us... here and let us know your thoughts on what makes a bad character.