St. Norbert College Magazine - A real character builder St. Norbert College
 


A real character builder
By Mike Dauplaise ’84

Norby the Green Knight
From drawing board to dragon-slayer: the evolution of Sir Norbert, our newest Green Knight.

On Sept. 25, a Green Knight called Sir Norbert (or Norby, for short) made his debut at the St. Norbert vs. Lawrence football game at Donald J. Schneider Stadium. Tall and dashing, Norby is the creation of Nick Patton ’03 (Communications).

Patton had an enviable task, that of bringing to life the new Green Knight mascot through a creative process that comes along rarely in most graphic designers’ careers.

On the flip side, Patton also faced the unavoidable challenge of trying to please everyone with his design. He synthesized input from a large committee, open-forum feedback and an online survey as he created the mascot figure. Here, Patton describes the process.


Web extra
Watch Norby adjust to life on campus. >>MORE
Q: How long was the process of developing the new mascot?
A: Conversation about developing a mascot began in October 2009, but it wasn’t until spring 2010 when I was approached and the committee was formed. The committee included faculty, students, alumni and staff. It was a quick turnaround for the project, considering we wanted to get the college community’s feedback on the direction to take.

Q: Where do you start with such a project?
A: My first step was to research all the different schools’ mascots and categorize them. There are three main categories: animals, which is the biggest category; fantasy, like the Stanford Tree or the Duke Blue Devil; and humans, like the Southern California Trojan, the Nebraska Cornhusker and the Penn State Quaker. I found pictures of them and took that information to our committee. We set up an open forum for the community to give us feedback and brainstormed about what they wanted to see as a Green Knight mascot. There had been times in the past where someone had a knight costume and used it for a couple of events, but it was never an official thing or thought out to the point of fleshing out a character with a name and personality, and official costume.

Q: What was the initial feedback you received at the beginning of the design process?
A: The feedback was they wanted a very traditional knight, similar to the graphics in the athletic logos. But there were some comments, too, that this is a mascot and should be fun and lovable. There were passionate opinions that it needed to be a strong and aggressive character, too. Fierce and friendly was the term that came out of it. It was a real balancing act for me.

Web extra
Read how Norby came to live and work at St. Norbert College. >>MORE
Q: Do you freehand your sketches or use computer-based tools?
A: There’s a monitor that I draw on. It’s all hand-drawn ideas, but I also get the advantages of the Photoshop-type tools. I did 25 to 30 drawings of different knights, pushing the shapes where some had really long legs or big arms. Some had normal human proportions; some were bigger and stronger; some had a big head and were more fun and playful.

Q: How many ideas made the final cut?
A: We went through the list and pulled out four of those original sketches and drew them again in a pose. We showed them to the committee, made adjustments to those drawings and came up with three final looks that we showed to the public for comments. We let them vote on which one they liked the best and provide comments, and we kept ourselves open to making final adjustments as we saw fit. The final look has got a Mr. Incredible feel to it.

Q: How did the costume come to be?
A: I researched mascot companies and selected three to present to the committee. They picked a company in Toronto, Canada, which turns out to be the mascot manufacturing capital of the world. (There was another company we looked at in Toronto, too.) The company provided me with technical drawings along the way, sending me images every day, first for the head and then for the body. We had to decide, in general, what size of person would fit into the costume. There is some leeway there, but in general the person should be around 6 feet tall.

Q: What was the most rewarding part of the process for you?
A: The best part was doing the drawings and working with the costume company. Seeing a drawing that I started with become the actual costume was fun.

Fall 2010 Magazine

Web extraLook here for web-only content that expands on topics presented in the current St. Norbert College Magazine.

Audio iconFight song gets new lyrics
Music professors Michael Rosewall and Linda Cook help us “Raise our voices to the Green and Gold” with renewed spirit.

Text ExtraA matter of opinion
Find out what readers are thinking about their college magazine.

Text ExtraFan Reaction to the
Favre-Packer Split

Master's candidate Peter Weiss explores the connections between fandom and identity.

VideoSports Rights Fees
Carl Vogel ’79
speaks on
the financial engine of sports.

Text ExtraA legend at St. Norbert
Bart Starr and Forrest Gregg recall the Vince Lombardi years on campus in the new book,
“A Championship Team.”

VideoNew mascot on campus
Watch Norby adjust to college life.

Text ExtraThe Norby Chronicles
Read the backstory on our favorite new Green Knight.

GalleryA sporting success
Images from the opening
season of the brand-new Donald
J. Schneider Stadium.

Text Extra“Sundays in Manila”
A chapter of Philippines encounters from the new travel memoir by Robert Boyer (English, Emeritus).

Text ExtraAlumni Award Winners 2010
Read more on the life and works of this year’s honorees.



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