Everything you thought about mascots for AIs was wrong

Designing Doliio to be you

There has been a trend recently of bots and AI’s getting characters and cutesy faces so that people can relate to them more. The question we asked ourselves at Doliio was, “Can the average person relate to a penguin?”

Remember me?

Assistants could easily become irritating when they’re personified, particularly when they’re trying to be helpful. Doliio is an ASA which is more than a simple AI assistant, so it was important to think beyond the butler models for mascots.

We are very passionate about the complex technology that allows Doliio to represent its user as accurately as possible using online data, so we went through a few interesting permutations of logos that represented the cloud, social media and data.

Do you see yourself here?

In our testing, however, we found that people didn’t quite relate to it. Often people said that they didn’t feel as though a cloud represented them too well. The importance of prototyping quickly and early here was critical. We didn’t have to invest thousands in a shiny web 3.0 logo, only realizing a year later that it is not resonating with our core users at all.

Developing a research plan with the team

Using people-centered research, we decided to take the brief of Doliio out and look into what really makes people who they are. We conducted interviews, asking people to define themselves and one of the most interesting things we realized is that everyone would consistently start with “I” or mention it at least once in their opening sentence.

“I like to think of myself as a unique person”
“Personally, I consider my personal brand to be witty and a little edgy”
“I’m not sure but my friends say that I’m pretty funny”

Learning from this valuable insight, we decided to build something from the ground up that is both unique and highly personal to you, as a user of Doliio. The idea of “I” really struck a chord with us and we started going through a lot of blue ocean brainstorming and ideation.

We tried many permutations of “i” both in upper and lower case but we found that the upper case could easily be confused with “L” especially considering that there is an L right before them in Doliio.

After many versions of the logo, we were drawn to the two lowercase i’s. Doliio is an authentic version of you online and rather than give it a random mascot, the best way it would represent you would be to just be you — using the best letter in the English language for referring to yourself “I”.

Some of the logos we explored before arriving to our final deicision

We explored a few hi-res versions of the ideas we had in our brainstorm as you can see above. Between the lighter colours and darker colours, as well as different permutations of the “i” in the logo, the approachability of lighter colours was more emotive considering the importance we give to how we manage your relationships.

In the versions above, we were playing around with just two adjacent “i”s and seeing how we could be creative with them. Then at one point, someone was playing with the kerning of the logo and nudged the right i really far to the left. It was a beautiful error. When the i’s got close to each other, the effect of intimacy that it created was perfect for Doliio.

The decision was made, and we kept the two i’s close to each other, chose a light and fresh colour and gave the second a i a transparency to give it some contrast from the first. We’re really proud of the resulting logo!

A fresh minty colour and your new other “i”!

Finally, we had to give it some motion. Animation is the very important when considering a modern logo for a dynamic software company. Doliio is always learning and getting better. The animation had to be simple and it had to accentuate the ii first and foremost.

After a few experiments, we arrived at an animation that met the criteria we set for ourselves, and that suited the logo and the living feel of Doliio.

Meet Doliio!

Ultimately you could argue that the ii has become a mascot in and of itself, and that might as well be the case — but in that case, it would mean that the mascot of Doliio is both you and Doliio, the i and the other i. This is why we strongly believe that it was important not to choose an arbitrary animal or an anthropomorphic robot. Mascots are a particular someone, and usually someone that is a caricature and one that doesn’t exist at that.

You are real, and you are as real to us as you are to your relationships, the managing of which is at the center of our ethos. It’s important for our brand to reflect that everywhere and for our logo to be a masthead of this thinking.

We’re very excited to present Doliio to the world and so glad to see how well received it has been by our alpha testers already. Be sure to join us and sign up for the beta on our website: doli.io!