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Old School : The Making of Pablo Pixel For Adobe Systems


I’ve always had a love for animation. One the aspects of the animation process I like is character design. One of the projects during my time at George Brown College was to create a mascot. For our illustration class we needed to pick an existing company with no kind of pre-existing mascot. The company I wanted to tackle was Adobe Software. Adobe is pretty much a staple for the graphic design industry. You need to know the holy trinity of Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. While it was professional powered software, I wanted to tackle the aspect of the software being used by younger students. What if Adobe were to introduce another tier of their software for a younger demographic?

Originally I thought about making something along the lines of Microsoft Word’s Clippy mascot. I quickly abandoned that idea. Metaphorical I landed on the use of the computer mouse, but changed it to the mammal version. There are a lot of brands surprisingly have popular mice. Instantly I thought of Disney’s Mickey Mouse and children’s restaurant Chuck E. Cheese.

Now that I had a mouse he needed a name. I thought about using a famous painter. I recalled seeing some old ads of from Apple’s Think Different campaign decided to go with Pablo Picasso.  To give it that attribute of association with computer software I dropped Picasso, and went with Pixel. Thus Pablo Pixel was born. A mouse that loved to create, both traditional methods of painting, and designing in the digital age. I gave Pablo a traditional painting smock jacket and red beret. The red was to match with Adobe’s current color used in their “A” logo.

After that I began to breakdown Pablo into a character design package. There was the line art construction, a model sheet for possible action poses, and lifestyle actions that Pablo could be doing for stand-alone promotional material.  For the lifestyle poses I chose to showcase Pablo painting at an easel, and working at a computer workstation. The final one was a kind of an artistic transformation. What if Pablo was in “Hulk mode” or artistically raging? I design was definitely fun in creating. It was almost like giving Pablo Pixel a Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde mode.

In the end, I did very well on the project that my instructor Richard wanted to put in the hallway for display near his office. I was flattered and it was a proud moment. However when it came to time to pick up my project I wasn’t able to get from Richard. During mid term of my semester, Richard suffered a stroke and wasn’t going to return for the school year. The project was later taken down from display to make room for new assignments to display. When it came to picking up my assignment it was gone. No one could find my final project. It was disappointing because I wanted to feature Pablo Pixel for my final design showpiece. I literally had to reconstruct my project from my original sketchbook works for portfolio purposes.

When I started working at GAO Group, I had some interactions with Adobe Canada. I mentioned to them I had designed a mascot for them years ago. While Adobe Canada wasn’t able to make a decision on it at the time, it was something the US office would need to decide on. Maybe I should look into re-pitching Pablo Pixel again.