Designer Alumnus Cho Deuk-lae Creates the ERICA Campus Character, ‘Hanyangi’
With the hope that students can feel close to the character and use it in diverse ways
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The number of followers for the Hanyang University ERICA Campus' official Facebook page has increased from around 400 in 2018 to 4,700 as of now. At the center of the surge of followers is the character, ‘Hanyangi.’ We had a sit-down chat with designer and creator of Hanyangi, Cho Deuk-lae (Department of Techono-product Design 11).
Hanyangi is a Hanyang University mascot that every Hanyangian must have run across at least once. It caught popularity as the representative emoticon of Hanyang University's ERICA Campus. The ERICA Campus' official Facebook account held a competition to mimic the Hanyangi drawing, and students inserted Hanyangi into their presentation materials.
There were several efforts before Cho to try to create an emoticon to represent the school. Professors, graduate students, and companies put their efforts into the act but did not gain much popularity. The developed emoticons were difficult to transform their shapes, as the features and lines were complex. Cho transformed the HY-lion character to design a simpler figure. The character was formed in an easy manner, in a way that could still bring out its funny charm. He received an outsourcing request from the school, and the original design was released a month after March of 2017, when manufacturing of Hanyangi began.
Initially, Cho hoped that the school would lead a channel that could narrow down the gap with students. A mascot takes up a big role in making students feel more familiar to the SNS page. He anticipated that Hanyangi could act as a mascot, seeing from the positive reactions. Cho himself walked into the Office of External Affairs and Development and suggested that he create a promotion team for the ERICA Facebook page, which was not managed well at the time. The school responded by telling him to gather the members of his promotion team.
Building a character to make it a mascot was not easy. Cho said, “It was work to realize one complete character, including internet tone and character personality settings.” He also mentioned that the process was a continuity of difficulty, as various content had to be created utilizing the character. “I developed the original design of Hanyangi, but all members of the SNS promotion team built the character together afterwards,” said Cho, giving credit to his teammates. In truth, Hanyangi gained the most awareness in 2018, the year that the SNS promotion team was assembled.
“It is my hope that any student would feel close to the character and use them.” Cho was intending to yield all licenses regarding the character to Hanyang University from the very initial stage of Hanyangi development. He merely laid down a condition of maintaining it open source, so that students could access them freely. Hanyangi is accessible during inside and outside school promotion, club activities, or academic use without a separate copyright mark. However, its use for the purpose of slandering the school is prohibited. “Students are free to modify its form in diverse ways to express their emotions,” said alumnus Cho.
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