Sep 15

Designing Uncle Moishy’s New Character and New Brand

The Old Uncle Moishy Character

The phone rang one day and I was asked by one of Uncle Moishy’s sons to create a new cartoon mascot character of Uncle Moishy. Uncle Moishy’s son told me about Uncle Moishy’s 40+ years as a Jewish children’s entertainer and about his international fame. He then showed me the Uncle Moishy character (shown on the right) they had used all that time. I was a little shocked, because the old Uncle Moishy character, if it wasn’t for the smile, looked like a character running for his life. To my eyes, it didn’t even resemble Uncle Moishy and it was a travesty that this clip art of Uncle Moishy was all they had to work with in their promotions all those years!

The New Uncle Moishy Character

new uncle moishy character with new uncle moishy branding

The New Uncle Moishy Character

They told me that this new Uncle Moishy character, if they liked it, might lead to designing their new brand and to many other things like packaging, website, and even more items like posters, flyers, more character poses etc. I wasn’t sure what to think as I had never heard of Uncle Moishy. Apparently he is extremely well known throughout the world, but primarily to the Jewish community. They also told me that the Jewish community would learn of my work and want to hire me too.They would come running to my door. Although, we as graphic designers, hear that all the time, we still hold out hope that would be true…

…but alas, even with a Jewish name like “Newman”, that didn’t help in the end…read on…

So the project began with me designing the new Uncle Moishy cartoon character. This was not very difficult because Uncle Moishy is a character unto himself. As a character designer and cartoonist there was a lot to grab onto with his prominent beard, bola-type wide-brim hat with the Jewish symbol on top, bit of a tummy, and unique costume he always wears in his performances.

When I was designing the new Uncle Moishy character, I tried many different poses. It made sense, that since Uncle Moishy sang children’s songs, he should have a mic in one hand. But what to do with the other hand? After watching a few videos of Uncle Moishy’s performances, I saw that Uncle Moishy would often raise his hand up. So I settled on a pose where Uncle Moishy is excited, smiling and waving as if to say “Hi !”

So here is the new Uncle Moishy character. They asked that I keep it quiet until they had a chance for Uncle Moishy to finish his new music CD. This was expected to only take a few months So this new Uncle Moishy character was kept under wraps.

The New Uncle Moishy Logo

After about a year had passed, and still having to keep the new Uncle Moishy character a secret, Uncle Moishy’s son asked me to design a new logo for Uncle Moishy and incorporate the new Uncle Moishy character into it. Since Uncle Moishy’s target audience is very young children, we decided to make the new Uncle Moishy logo bright and cheerful and have him pop out of the Jewish symbol that Uncle Moishy wears prominently on his bola-type wide-brim hat.

I did like the different colored letters in the Uncle Moishy text of their old logo. The varying bright colors are often associated with young child in the design industry. But the old font had to go. Since Uncle Moishy is known for melodic music and rhyme, I wanted a font that seemed to dance. After much research, I settled on a new font and the client like it!

So what did we have to work with for the new logo? The new Uncle Moishy character, the Jewish symbol he wears on his hat, a font that dances with each letter being a bright and cheerful color. Wow! That’s a lot. The new Uncle Moishy logo was practically designing itself…and here it is, the new Uncle Moishy logo…

uncle moishy logo with new look

The New Uncle Moishy Logo

The New Uncle Moishy CD Packaging

Uncle Moishy and his family were very pleased with my work thus far, so they asked me to design the CD packaging for their new music CD coming out. Again, they wanted me to incorporate the new colorful Uncle Moishy text and the new Uncle Moishy character.

The new music CD coming out was being called “Welcome”…what a stroke of luck! The new Uncle Moishy character I had designed was in a pose that looked like he could be saying “Welcome” instead of “Hi” that I had originally designed. So once again, deciding what to draw for the front of the CD packaging was becoming a no-brainer…

uncle moishy new music cd welcomeThe CD package contains a 16 page booklet full of each song’s lyrics and a glossary of hebrew terms at the end. Plus some dedications and special thanks from Uncle Moishy himself.

It also identifies the various lyric writers and composers and the 45 piece orchestra that accompanied Uncle Moishy in the production of all the songs on this new Uncle Moishy CD.

The New Uncle Moishy’s World Website

For the next step of this project, I was hired to design and develop the new Uncle Moishy World website. Uncle Moishy’s son and I brainstormed about the website. He wanted online games and coloring book pages that Uncle Moishy fans (mostly children) could come and play. A place they would return to again and again…

So I did some research and found lots of online games and coloring pages we could incorporate into the new Uncle Moishy World website. But alas, the actual content of the jigsaw puzzle games, coloring pages, and other arcade type games were not Jewish oriented. So I modified the art for all of the games and created a site that boasts some fun animated movement to images and buttons. A site with bright colors and of course, the new Uncle Moishy character on the home page bidding his welcome to the world…

new uncle moishy world website

The project, up until the middle of the website design  process, was going well working with Uncle Moishy’s son. I was enjoying everything I was creating for them. But the project took a bad turn and it didn’t end well…for me!

Uncle Moishy’s family seeing the new Uncle Moishy character, the new Uncle Moishy logo, the new Uncle Moishy music CD, and now, the progress of the new Uncle Moishy World website, became excited!!!!!!! So excited, they began to participate. After 40+ years, they could now “visualize” how this all was taking shape…Wanting to coincide the website and the new music CD into a formal “launch”…they began talking with some marketing companies…and were leaning toward hiring a marketing company that specialized in marketing to the Jewish community.

The Marketing Team

Enter the Jewish “Marketing Team” (who will remain nameless)…now when I say “Marketing Team” you should be hearing some ominous music play in your mind in the background ” as you hear those words…”Marketing Team” dun, dun, dun, dah…

Now, for those of you who don’t know:

Most marketing companies want to CREATE it all and CONTROL it all…

They convince potential clients (in this case, Uncle Moishy’s family member) that the less they (the marketing team) controls, the less possibility of the client’s success. Email marketing, Social Media marketing, Print marketing, they are all different marketing vehicles. Some companies specialize in one, a few, or all of these vehicles. Each one separately could be made to be successful for the client. That was just greed talking. Marketing companies/directors, in my experience, tend to come in like bulls in a china store. They burst in, take over, and clean house! And as any professional graphic designer has experienced, if you were there before them…you go out with the dirty water…no matter how nice your work is!

The story continues…each new entity that came into the project in mid stream brought different ideas of their own. Difficult to accommodate when you’re hired at  a “fixed” price. The marketing team kept telling Uncle Moishy’s family member that “they” (the marketing company) normally create the website! Rather than embrace what was created. They questioned everything that Uncle Moishy’s son and I had accomplished. From the placement of forms on the page, right down to the URL for the new Uncle Moishy World website…guess Uncle Moishy’s World had a better ring to it…the project became a nightmare…

I was assured by Uncle Moishy’s family member, on several occasions, the marketing company was being hired in a “limited capacity”…primarily to handle the new music CD launch and provide email and social media marketing…The marketing company’s initial  introduction to me didn’t start out well. Before they were even officially hired, they called, wanting to take my time to show them the website, the whole “immersive experience“…I was confused…the website was “my” contract…what did that have to do with the “Email Marketing” they would be hired to do? They couldn’t setup the email and social media marketing while I completed the website? I began to get angry…Why did they expect me to defend what remained to be completed? Why did the marketing company have so much to say about the website? Why were they involving themselves into areas they weren’t hired to do?

The End Result

Well, I found out (and felt the slap) just after I completed the website…an email from Uncle Moishy’s family member saying “they looked forward to working with me in the future”…and then…slap!…the next email was from the marketing company asking me for “all” the Uncle Moishy assets so “they” (the marketing company) could create the future posters, flyers, print-ads, etc… Surprise! they were hired to take over all along and I was out with the dirty water! Now they can take what I started all the way to “their” success:

Announcing! “Uncle Moishy’s New Year, New Sound” campaign… and being a “whole campaign” implies they created the new look too!

So how is the Jewish community going to know that “I” (Malane Newman Design) created the new look and feel; the new branding? How is anyone to know the Jewish marketing group that specializes in marketing to the Jewish community, had nothing to do with creating Uncle Moishy’s new branding? They can’t very well beat a path to my door as I was told they would, if they’ve never heard of me before… so this article is to tell the world (and the Jewish community) about my little foot print. And to share with graphic designers, and businesses, this all-too-familiar outcome for graphic designers when a marketing team is brought in the middle of the project… maybe a song about “loyalty” is something Uncle Moishy should have sang to his family member and their new marketing company…

About Malane Newman Design
Malane Newman is a professional cartoonist, graphic designer, illustrator and website designer. Prior to starting Malane Newman Design, she was the Visual Communications Director for Andersen Consulting (now known as Accenture, Corp.). She now works directly with clients to design and develop their websites, company mascots, product packaging, and just about everything else that falls into the four service areas; cartooning, illustration, website design, and graphic design.

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