Character Design: NatCen Nev

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As part of an animation for NatCen, we had to create an animation to present the findings of their research into Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among young people in England. We thought a lead character could help present the animation and engage with the audience of 12-16 year olds, and their teachers. Below is a quick run-through of the process of creating this character.

As with all projects, the first thing to do was to research the illustration and character style. We use pinterest secret boards to collate inspiration into mood boards which we can add and view images to as a group. A minimal, geometric style of illustration was settled on, which kept to the NatCen brand. Looking at reference material every step of the way, both in terms of overall feel and how specific features were drawn. Key inspiration was taken from Robin Davey, Kristof Luyckx and Thought Café.

After experimenting with circles and rectangles, our character was coming to life. Starting with a simple wireframe, colour and detail were then added to the designs – a fair bit of time was spent tweaking the style and colour of the clothing and hair, until it felt right. He just needed a name – Neville allowed for some alliteration – thus NatCen Nev was born!

Cool dude
Neville is somewhere between a scientist and a nerd – but cooler! His choice of tee-shirt definitely echoes the classic lab coat, whist his green quiff and converse style shoes show that he’s a modern dude. His signature specs and pens sitting in his shirt pocket suggest there’s definitely some brains there too. After creating Nev, the character style has been adapted throughout more characters for this and further animations.

Nick Byrne – Graphic Designer, The Like Minded

See Nev in action in the finished animation, more coming soon…


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