SolidLine Media’s Art Director, Mike Petrik, is a wiz at motion graphics and animation. One of his favorite challenges [and hobbies for that matter] is character development.

It takes a very unique brand and message to both require a unique character and also to pull it off with power and integrity. This past year, Petrik has had the opportunity to work on a number of characters for different companies and brands. One of his favorite character challenges this year was for Nutri-Vet.

Nutri-Vet offers a wide variety of pet medications, supplements and other products and they came to SolidLine with quite the challenge: to make animated videos for a number of their products. They didn’t know exactly what they wanted or how to approach it, but they knew they wanted something unique like an animation to set them apart and hook their audience. “SolidLine pitched the idea of having a host character for the video,” Petrik says, “to kind of carry us along through the presentation of the products.” Nutri-Vet was excited and willing to try this new idea and Petrik got to lead the way.

“First challenge was to come up with the type of character. Since Nutri-Vet’s products revolve around pet care, the obvious choice was to go for some sort of animal. But what kind of animal?” This was the first series of questions that Petrik had to answer. Then stylistic questions like whether the animal was going to be realistic looking or more like a cartoon? Walking on all fours, or standing up on two legs like a human? Clothes? Animal fur? “All of these issues had to be addressed in order to chisel out the character that would essentially represent the company in the videos,” says Petrik.

Ultimately, Petrik discovered and cultivated a male, dog character, but he needed a few other personality traits. Due to the educational and scientific message of the product, the SolidLine crew tossed around the idea of the dog being a teacher or professor type before ultimately deciding to make him a doctor. “From there, there were even more questions: how old is he, what kind of voice does he have, etc. If he were older he needed a voice to reflect the age but also to come across as a warm and caring doctor.”

While Petrik is meticulously considering these small and very significant details, the whole art team is doodling away trying to match a look to this developing personality.

“This part of the process is very important to collaborate with the client,” stresses Petrik, “You have to make sure they are involved in growing the character they want.”

Once the client is happy, the character is locked down and pre-production on the character animation can begin.

Developing a character for your brand or campaign is a very focused process, but ultimately, the rewards are endless. You now have another way to personalize your brand; another face to humanize your message and connect to consumers. Unique characters are more than talking heads; they are powerful, engaging forces for your brand’s message. And, it’s good to know that the SolidLine team is always up for the challenge. In fact, they relish it.

Take a look at the three spots we produced for Nutri-Vet featuring our Dr. Wellington character:

Nutri-Vet Joint Care Promo

Nutri-Vet Teeth

Nutri-Vet Skin