Senior Thesis: Ochasaru
Professor: Dermot MacCormack

A character design, brand identity, and product design project about a tiny snow monkey who likes to relax in teacups. This project was done as my senior thesis project.

   My senior thesis project was presented to us as a “dream project”; we were told we could do literally whatever we wanted. Immediately, my mind went to doing a mascot/character design and creating a brand identity and collateral surrounding it.     I wanted to do a monkey character because they are my absolute favorite animal, but I wanted there to be some sort of spin or twist to it. In the mascot design realm, niche characters are very popular as they not only stand out but also create a sense of humor or relatability. So, me and my classmate thought of the idea of the character being a Japanese snow monkey. Japanese snow monkeys have silly and cute hobbies like bathing in hot springs and rolling snowballs for fun. I decided that I wanted to take these already adorable and silly traits and run with them, expanding off of them and creating a character from that.
   Thus, Ochasaru was born! The concept for Ochasaru is that he is a snow monkey who wants to relax in the hot springs, but he is too small, resulting in him opting to lounge in hot cups of tea instead. His name means “tea monkey” in Japanese, “ocha” meaning tea and “saru” meaning monkey. This also led me to the idea of being able to create a piece of 3D-modeled merchandise, an over-the-cup tea infuser that is shaped like Ochasaru. Since I was taking a 3d modeling class this semester, I thought it was a great opportunity to challenge myself and utilize those skills in another class. I also decided that I wanted to attempt to actually print the model I would create.    After all of this was fleshed out, I was finally able to start designing!
  After I came up with his concept, I was able to begin coming up with his design. I first looked at many pictures of baby snow monkeys, taking note of their key features like their chubby, fluffy bodies. This led me to begin by creating a base body for the character that I really liked, and from there, testing out a bunch of different faces.
   I also sketched him some little snowball friends at the bottom, since every good character needs a sidekick or two, and since snow monkeys love to roll snowballs. I named them Yukio and Fuyu, meaning “snow boy” and “winter” in Japanese respectively.

    After creating these concepts and reviewing with my classmates, we decided that the very first option I came up with was the way to go. It felt the most natural and fitting, and also just felt the cutest. Once that was decided, I was able to create his official design!
    Once I created his official design, I was able to begin creating all of my deliverables and build a brand identity around my character. I ended up creating a character reference sheet, two illustrations for social media, a set of pins, a sticker, a tshirt, and most importantly, as I previously mentioned, a 3D modeled over-the-cup tea infuser. I also created a mockup Instagram account and website to showcase all of these outputs.
    Most of the time spent creating this project was dedicated to creating the 3D model for Ochasaru’s tea infuser. I had never modeled anything so complex before and was quite literally learning the program as I went along. It was a struggle at times, and there was lots of trial and error. It took multiple rounds of printing and editing to perfect the model, and there were times when I was worried I wouldn’t be able to execute my vision properly. However, I could not be more proud of the finished product. As a graphic designer, we are used to seeing most of our work on a screen; it was an amazing experience to fully create something from scratch and bring it to fruition!
    After I finished up my model, it was finally time to start bringing everything together. I was able to finish all of the deliverables that I had been hoping to create and truly developed a full brand identity for my character. 

    So, with that being said, I present to you... OCHASARU, the pocket-sized peaceful primate!

Taylor O’Shaughnessy