Computer Arts explores the history of character design

Discover how characters have evolved from friendly brand mascots, and learn how to power up your portfolio in the latest Computer Arts, on sale now.

Computer Arts issue 227 is out now! Behind the fluoro pink cover this month, we take a fascinating trip through the history of character design. Throughout the ages, characters have played a range of different roles - in the early days of the internet they acted as 'friendly gatekeepers', welcoming users into this brave new world. Brands found the characters to be invaluable in breaking thought the white noise of marketing spiel and delivering a clear message to customers - before society pushed back, taking these same characters and using them to protest against commercialism.

Characters have even broken free of the screen, entering the physical world in the form of collectible vinyl figurines and character costumes. The founders of Pictoplasma take us on a trip through the history of character design in this month's special report.

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Designers are consistently told that their design portfolio is their key to success in the creative marketplace. But what exactly is a modern portfolio? What goes in it, and how do you get it in front of the right people? We spoke to the ADC - whose Portfolio Nights have launched the career of many a talented young creative - to find out the key to a killer folio.

In our Projects section, we go behind the scenes on Kororo & Moi's branding for long-established Finnish food brand Fazer, and hear about how Jo Ratcliffe created a 3D-printed zoetrope that brings her signature fashion illustrations to life. This month's Workflows look at how you can create your own unique characters, and gives you some valuable tips on how to work with images in InDesign. We've also asked R/GA to explore the future of wearable tech.

Grab your print copy here, and the digital edition on Apple Newsstand (UK edition or US edition).

Plus:

  • Exclusive video chat with the charming Jon Burgerman
  • Grad show calendar, so you know where to head for fresh design talent this summer
  • We take 30 minutes with the ever-elusive Experimental Jetset